A former sheriff’s deputy who was working as a school resource officer at a South Carolina high school recently pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with one of the students, according to a prosecutor.
Donald Eugene Henry Jr. was a deputy with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office and was working as an SRO at Midland Valley High School in February 2017 when he was arrested, said Heather Deloach, an assistant solicitor with the 2nd Circuit solicitor’s office.
According to the Aiken County School District, Henry worked as an SRO since 2005, only taking off time because of a “military deployment,” WRDW reported.
Jail records show the now 57-year-old Aiken resident was charged with sexual battery upon a student 16 or 17 years of age, no aggravated force or coercion.
On July 26, Henry pleaded guilty to sexual battery upon a student, according to Deloach, who prosecuted the case for the solicitor’s office.
Henry received the maximum sentence of five years in prison, but his sentence was suspended to 90 days in jail, Deloach said.
“We left it up to the judge,” Deloach told The State. “We found that to be a reasonable resolution that Mr. Henry has to serve time and, if he gets in more trouble, he has time hanging over his head.”
Following his time behind bars, Henry will be on probation for five years, with the first on house arrest, according to the Aiken Standard.
Deloach said Henry’s sexual relationship with the female student took place over several months before the school found out about it, from October 2016 to January 2017.
Two of the student’s friends told a guidance counselor that she was having sexual relations with the SRO, Deloach said. The guidance counselor then informed the sheriff’s office about the allegations and the sheriff’s office asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to conduct an investigation.
Henry resigned from the sheriff’s office after the investigation began, said Deloach, who said she doesn’t believe that Henry will be allowed to work in law enforcement or in schools again, following his conviction.
The Aiken County School District issued a statement after Henry was arrested, saying, “We are terribly disappointed by (the) arrest of a former school resource officer entrusted with providing a safe learning environment for our students and faculty members,” WRDW reported.
The sheriff’s office reported that the student initially “denied having any inappropriate contact with the resource officer,” according to the Aiken Standard.