Report: Charleston Co. detective fired after sleeping with murder suspect's mother
CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County Sheriff's Office says a detective was fired after an internal investigation discovered that the officer had a sexual relationship with a murder suspect's mother and lied about it.
Documents released on Thursday say the sheriff's office internal investigations department, the Office of Professional Standards, began an investigation on June 25 surrounding an allegation that Detective Charles Lawrence had an inappropriate sexual relationship with the mother of Derrick Brown, a man charged in a Ravenel murder.
CCSO records state Lawrence had the relationship with Brown's mother while he was investigating the murder case.
Lawrence was fired from the sheriff's office on July 9, and on July 16, the attorney of Reginald Gordon, Brown's co-defendant in the murder case, filed a motion for dismissal based on Lawrence's alleged relationship with Brown's mother.
Brown and Gordon are suspected in a 2012 shooting at Club Frazier's in Ravenel that took the life of 25-year-old Dominique Grant of West Ashley.
Authorities say they were notified of Lawrence and Brown's mother's relationship by Gordon's mother.
On June 30, 2014, investigators reported that they spoke to Brown's mother who said she did have a sexual relationship with Lawrence around "the end of 2009 or beginning of 2010," and lasted three to six months.
The woman also said Lawrence contacted her in October of 2012 in reference to getting her son to turn himself on armed robbery charges. Brown was eventually arrested on Oct. 8, 2012 for armed robbery, then charged along with Gordon with murder in February of 2013 in Grant's shooting death.
Brown's mother told investigators she never discussed facts with Lawrence about the armed robbery or homicide case. In addition, she said no favors were provided between her and Lawrence in reference to her son and the cases.
On June 30, investigators spoke with Lawrence who said he had known Brown's mother for years and had a sexual relationship with the woman which lasted six months from 2009 to 2010.
According to Lawrence, he first became aware of the accusations of a sexual relationship between himself and Brown's mother when a sheriff's office captain spoke to him. Lawrence said the captain read an email to him from the solicitor's office in which Gordon's mother accused Lawrence of having a sexual relationship with Brown's mother.
The captain then asked Lawrence if this was true, and Lawrence replied,"No."
Lawrence said he later returned to the captain and told him that he did have a sexual relationship with Brown's mother from 2009 to 2010. CCSO documents state Lawrence spoke with Brown's mother to put together a time frame of when their relationship had occurred.
Authorities say Lawrence and the mother's accounts matched too closely and appeared that they had "colluded to come up with a timeline."
When internal investigative authorities challenged Lawrence on the timeline of the relationship, the sheriff's office says Lawrence changed his story about the time frame of the relationship and said he started having sex with the mother sometime in 2013 after her son and Reginald Gordon had been charged and incarcerated for Grant's murder.
CCSO internal investigators say they concluded that Lawrence colluded with Brown's mother to establish a false timeline about their relationship to provide to Lawrence's supervisors and investigators.
In addition, investigators say it was only after being confronted with discrepancies in Lawrence's accounts of events, did Lawrence admit the truth to authorities about the relationship.
The internal investigators' report states that they found no indication that Lawrence made any deals or promises with anyone in reference to the armed robbery or Grant's homicide investigation.
The murder case against Brown and Gordon is expected to go to trial on July 28.
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