Politics & Government

No charges against SC senator accused of relationship with student

S.C. Sen. Mike Fanning
S.C. Sen. Mike Fanning

State Sen. Mike Fanning will not be charged after a five-month investigation into claims he had an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old female student in the early 1990s.

The State Law Enforcement Division closed its investigation last month, finding insufficient evidence to charge state the Fairfield Democrat with any crime.

The allegation was filed last September with the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office, more than a month before Fanning’s general election victory over York Republican Mark Palmer.

Fanning, who denied any wrongdoing, said the allegation was “one of the most malicious, horrifying and negative attacks imaginable.”

“The people of this district, a jury of peers, my friends, my coworkers, my neighbors know my character,” Fanning said. “They knew these allegations did not pass the smell test. From York to Rock Hill to Chester to Fairfield, the people were not bamboozled.”

The two-paragraph incident report alleged Fanning had an “inappropriate relationship” with a female student at Estill High School while he was a Hampton County teacher in 1993. It did not name the student nor did it offer any further details.

The case was closed as “unfounded” after a March 13 email in which 14th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Sean Thornton cited insufficient evidence. Thornton also noted that South Carolina had no law governing student-teacher relationships prior to 2010.

Avery G. Wilks: 803-771-8362, @averygwilks

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