Crime & Courts

Update | Two S.C. prison managers suspended in porn case

Two managers at the S.C. Corrections Department were suspended without pay today pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations that some employees shared pornographic images on state computers, spokesman Josh Gelinas said.

Gelinas would not identify the two employees, but said they were not among the Columbia-based executive staff of prisons director Jon Ozmint.

Gelinas said the e-mails, containing “inappropriate images” of adult women, including nudity, were forwarded to less than 10 agency staff members; none reached Ozmint.

Ozmint briefed Gov. Mark Sanford about the corrective actions, said Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for Sanford.

“We’re supportive of those actions,” Sawyer said.

The department’s inspector general Daniel Murphy began an investigation into the allegations April 24, shortly after receiving information about the e-mails, Gelinas said.

The department will hand over the results of its investigation to State Attorney General Henry McMaster by the end of this week, Gelinas said.

McMaster spokesman Mark Plowden said May 9 that his office will review those findings, and could ask the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate further, McMaster spokesman Mark Plowden said.

The attorney general won’t drop the matter until investigators are satisfied none of the items exchanged had any illegal content, Plowden said.

Though child pornography would be the most glaring example of illegal images, the pictures also could violate state law depending on how they’re produced and disseminated, Plowden said.

The request for an investigation came from Sen. Mike Fair, the Greenville Republican who is chair of the S.C. Senate Corrections Committee. In a letter in early May, Fair wrote that he was told several high-level officials had exchanged pornography on work computers and wanted McMaster to investigate because of his experience in pursuing Internet porn.