State Rep. Justin Bamberg is calling for the resignation of a Bamberg County councilman accused of sex crimes against minors.
In a statement to Kerry Trent Kinard’s attorney, Bamberg says “His voluntary resignation at this time would coincide with the commitment he has displayed to the people of Bamberg County historically and represent an important step in allowing local government in the county to function without distraction.”
Kinard, 49, has been charged by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, first-degree assault and battery, and two counts each of both criminal solicitation of a minor and dissemination of obscene material.
The governor cannot suspend an official until they’ve been indicted. Kinard has not been indicted by a grand jury.
Kinard is being held in jail without bond.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman ordered an evaluation for Kinard, noting “Aside from the serious nature of these charges, the court is concerned with the representation that Mr. Kinard suffers from depression, pill addiction and mental instability. That is not a good recipe for release on bond.”
Bamberg noted, “Given the totality of the current situation, the court’s requirement that Mr. Kinard undergo evaluation and the fact that we as elected officials must always put the citizens’ best interests above our own, I am most respectfully requesting that Councilman Kinard voluntarily resign from his position on Bamberg County Council immediately.”
Kinard is represented by attorney Bakari Sellers, a former state representative who once held Bamberg’s seat.
Bamberg wrote to Sellers, “I believe that both you, as the former State Representative for the area, and Councilman Kinard would agree that the well-being of our beloved Bamberg County and its citizens are of absolute importance. This holds true even when we find ourselves dealing with personal matters outside of the government contexts that drastically interfere with our obligation to the people.”
Earlier on Friday, Sellers responded to a request for comment. He noted that he would reply after he spoke with Kinard later in the day.
By press time, Sellers had not provided any further comment.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD.
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