A former school resource officer in the Lowcountry was found guilty of sexually violating a student and will have to register as a sex offender, according to officials.
After a three-day trial, a jury found Larry Heyward guilty Wednesday of third degree criminal sexual conduct, engaging in a lewd act with a minor and misconduct in office by a public official, according to a news release from Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone’s office.
Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cooper sentenced the 55-year-old former Hampton County sheriff’s deputy to 15 years in prison. Cooper reportedly handed down the maximum sentence for each charge.
Heyward will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, the release stated.
Heyward was assigned as an SRO at Estill Middle School in Estill. The assaults against male child began when he was a student at the school, the release stated.
The student reported he had been abused on multiple occasions between August 2010 and December 2012, according to the Island Packet. The Island Packet reported he was indicted by a grand jury in February of 2013.
One of the key pieces of evidence in the case was an “explicit” phone conversation with Heyward the victim recorded, according to the chief prosecutor, Deputy Solicitor Sean Thornton.
“The defendant used his position as a school resource officer to gain access to the victim in this case,” Thornton said. “So often victims of sexual assault are never heard; in this case the victim was heard and justice was done.”