SLED opens investigation into misspent funds at People Against Rape

PAR director asks county for help
Director Roach asks for help. (Source: Deja Knight)
Director Roach asks for help. (Source: Deja Knight)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said on Wednesday they have opened a preliminary investigation into alleged misspent money at People Against Rape.

The news follows on the heels of the board chairman for People Against Rape asking the Charleston County Legislative Delegation for help and understanding Tuesday night.

Last week, the board of PAR told the media up to $80,000 was missing from their budget.  They believe it might have something to do with the mishandling of funds by a former employee.

"On one hand, it could be gross negligence and the other it could be down right stealing; we're leaning towards the latter," said Mike Roach, Board Chairman of PAR.

Since the discovery of the missing funds, Roach and other board members contacted the IRS to perform an audit.  Grant money from the Department of Public Safety has also been suspended until the audit can be done.  PAR's operating budget is around $400,000.  Grants that were suspended make up for $300,000.

"Right now, we barely have over $500 in our bank account.  We're worried about keeping the lights on in our office," said Roach.

Rep. Chip Limehouse said he and several others on the Delegation have already written letters to the Department of Public Safety to ask the grants be reinstated.

PAR assists around 1,000 rape victims every year.  They have laid off 11 employees since last week.  Roach said he's worried the organization will not be able to continue without funding.  North Charleston police are investigating.  No charges have been filed yet.

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