UNION — The attorney for the city of Union has been arrested and charged with misconduct in office, according to the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
According to an arrest warrant, William “Billy” Whitney Jr., 65, of 157 Whitney Road, Union, is accused of dismissing charges against criminal defendants in exchange for sexual favors. The incidents reportedly happened on July 8, 2011, and Sept. 7, 2012, while Whitney was employed as a public official in Union County.
Union County Sheriff David Taylor said the office began investigating Whitney when a complaint was filed Aug. 1. Because Whitney was employed as a prosecuting attorney for the city of Union, Taylor said the sheriff’s office contacted the S.C. Law Enforcement Division and the S.C. Attorney General’s Office for assistance. SLED spokesman Thom Berry confirmed the agency is involved and said the investigation is ongoing.
Union Mayor Harold Thompson declined to comment on the case, but said he accepted Whitney’s resignation letter on Aug. 19. In the handwritten letter, Whitney wrote that he planned to retire as city attorney on Jan. 1, 2014, but “due to certain health issues” decided to resign effective immediately. Thompson said the separation was made official at a City Council meeting the next day.
Thompson said Whitney served as the city attorney for 17 years.
Whitney was booked at the Union County Detention Center on Monday morning and was awaiting a bond hearing.
Upon conviction, the charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
“I want to thank SLED and the Attorney General’s office for their work in this investigation,” Taylor said in a statement. “Additional charges may be filed as this is a continuing investigation.”