Crime & Courts

Ex-Bob Jones University police officer sexually abused vulnerable adult, SC cops say

Darren Thomas Wesley has been charged with sexually assaulting a vulnerable adult, according to the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.
Darren Thomas Wesley has been charged with sexually assaulting a vulnerable adult, according to the Greenville County Sheriff's Office. Greenville County Sheriff's Office

A former police officer at Bob Jones University, a Christian college in South Carolina, is facing multiple charges of sexually assaulting a vulnerable adult, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said.

The victim was entrusted into the care of Darren Thomas Wesley, who was arrested Tuesday night, according to the news release.

The sheriff’s office said the 51-year-old Greenville resident “sexually victimized” the vulnerable adult for more than three years, according to the news release.

The abuse included touching, molesting and sexually assaulting the “23-year-old special needs female,” according to arrest warrants.

The arrest warrants said the victim is “unable to consent or care for herself,” something Wesley knew about and took advantage of in his “position of authority over the victim.”

He even threatened the victim, to keep her from trying to stop the abuse or telling anyone about it, which caused her “serious psychological harm,” the arrest warrants said.

Wesley was charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct, first-degree assault and battery, abuse to a vulnerable adult and neglect of a vulnerable adult, the Sheriff’s Office said in the news release.

He is being held in the Greenville County Detention Center after his bond was set at $90,000 for the combined charges, jail records show.

The Sheriff’s Office said none of the sexual assaults occurred on Bob Jones University’s campus, and there is no information that students or faculty were involved, according to the news release.

Bob Jones is a “Christian liberal arts higher education institution,” according to its website, which said the university’s mission is to “grow Christlike character that is scripturally disciplined, others-serving, God-loving, Christ-proclaiming and focused above.”

The university is known for attracting Republican presidential hopefuls who are campaigning in the South Carolina primary, with Ronald Reagan (1980) and George W. Bush (2000) among the future presidents to visit, the Greenville News reported.

The university said it fired Wesley, an alum, after learning of his “actions,” WYFF reported.

“Darren Wesley served as a staff member at Bob Jones University. Once his actions were reported to BJU, we dismissed Wesley for breach of the University’s code of conduct,” Bob Jones chief of staff Randy Page said in a news release shared by the TV station. “We have confirmed his actions were reported to the proper law enforcement agency.”

Whether someone has asked you for help or you sense someone is in distress, here are some general guidelines to help support possible victims of abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or financial.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.