Settled in Secret: Court records hide who’s behind a string of child molestation cases

Updated: Sep. 26, 2019 at 6:28 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - There are tens of thousands of settlements that wind through the court system in our state each year, according to the South Carolina Judicial Department.

In the court of common pleas, there are now six cases lodged against a defendant named “XYZ, Inc. a South Carolina non-profit corporation.” The most recent of which was settled, according to court documents, Wednesday afternoon.

In each of the cases, the plaintiff is an unidentified child under the age of 14 years old.

Each minor alleges he was molested by an “agent of the defendant.” The defendant owns and operates premises in Dorchester County, according to the court documents.

In South Carolina, all non-profits must register with the Secretary of State. There is no non-profit by the name XYZ, Inc. registered in the Palmetto State.

“It's not typical - not something I've seen before,” lawyer Evan Guthrie said.

Guthrie, who is not affiliated with these cases, said in order to retain anonymity, both parties and the presiding judge must all have agreed.

Neither the presiding judge nor the lawyers representing either the plaintiffs or XYZ, Inc., responded to a request for comment.

Guthrie said there is a public interest in determining the non-profit’s true identity.

“If it were me involved in the community, I’d want to know the non-profit that was involved in these alleged activities,” he said. “If they’re settling a case, I would have a general interest to see if it’s someone I’m interacting with, and if I’m not aware of it. There’s a public interest to knowing who it is.”

Of the six cases, four have been settled.

XYZ, Inc. has liability coverage with limits of $1 million. Two of the cases are still pending.

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