Kerry Trent Kinard served as chairman of Bamberg County Council in 2019. By the end of 2020, he was housed at the Lexington County Detention Center.
Kinard is facing multiple state allegations of sex crimes involving children. He’s also facing federal charges related to allegations he lied on documents in a failed effort to buy a gun.
In June 2020, Kinard lost his re-election bid in the Democratic primary.
On Sept. 25, S.C. Law Enforcement Division agents took the 49-year-old Air Force veteran into custody.
Kinard is facing the following state charges: 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.
Kinard’s attorney, Bakari Sellers, has said Kinard maintains his innocence on the charges.
Kinard appeared before Circuit Judge Clifton Newman in Barnwell County for his bond hearing on Sept. 30.
At the hearing, the mother of the children involved said her daughter made the “very brave” decision to report the allegations.
“Since the truth has been revealed, I now see that Kerry exemplifies the epitome of evil. He’s preyed on my children for years. They now have memories of their childhood no child should have,” the children’s father said.
The T&D did not name the children’s parents to protect the children’s identities.
SLED Special Agent Lawrence Wiggins told the court the children accused Kinard of “consistent groping, touching, fondling.”
He said the children also alleged, “they were exposed to pornography during, after or prior to the sexual assaults.”
Wiggins said some of the alleged abuse began around 2007 to 2008.
Sellers told the court that Kinard “has a history of public service” and doesn’t have a criminal record.
While Kinard didn’t immediately get bond, a bond hearing was held a little over a month later.
Sellers told the court that an independent psychiatrist performed an evaluation and determined that Kinard is “not a danger to the community or himself.”
Deputy 2nd Circuit Solicitor David Miller said, “We do take issue with the evaluation.”
Newman set Kinard’s bond at $75,000 cash or surety. He stipulated that Kinard was to be placed on GPS monitoring, have no contact with the victims in the case and stay out of Bamberg County for 90 days – with the exception of court hearings.
Once Kinard posted bail, he was required to live with his brother in Richland County.
The following day, S.C. Family Court Judge Vicki J. Snelgrove entered a protective order restraining Kinard “from committing further acts of abuse or threats of abuse against” his accusers, according to court documents.
On Nov. 6, a Bamberg County grand jury formally indicted Kinard and Gov. Henry McMaster suspended him.
By Dec. 4, Kinard was in custody again, this time on two federal charges.
Federal officials allege Kinard attempted to purchase a 9mm Taurus G3 pistol from Sportsman’s Warehouse at 476 Piney Grove Road in Columbia, based on his location monitoring.
The firearms dealer “performed a background check and the firearm was not transferred to Kinard as there was a delayed denial for the attempted transaction,” the federal complaint states.
A federal complaint accuses Kinard of making two false statements on the standard Firearms Transaction Record application.
The application asked, in part, "Are you under indictment or information in any court for a felony, or any other crime for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year…?"
Kinard allegedly answered, “No.”
The application also asked, “Are you subject to a court order … restraining you from harassing, stalking or threatening your child or an intimate partner or child of such partner?”
Kinard allegedly answered, “No.”
Regarding the federal charges, Sellers said, “This case is clearly an abuse of discretion. These cases are rarely if ever filed.”
On Dec. 16, Sellers filed a motion requesting bond for Kinard.
The next day, however, Sellers withdrew the request, citing, “new information and a recent change in circumstances surrounding this matter.”
Sellers said Kinard, “reserves the right to petition the court for a bond at a detention hearing at a later date.”
If convicted on his highest state charge, Kinard faces up to life in prison.
SLED’s case remains open and active.
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