Do we really still think this shouldn’t have legislation?
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A woman who had an affair with Laurens County Sheriff Ricky Chastain said in a lawsuit filed this week she was sexually harassed and wrongfully forced out of her county job after refusing the sheriff’s request to have a second abortion.
Chastain, who for more than a decade has been sheriff in the county about 70 miles northwest of Columbia, has admitted to a two-and-a-half year affair with Haley Manley but has denied that he forced her to quit.
According to her lawsuit, filed Thursday in Laurens County court, their affair began a month after she started working for Chastain in January 2008, and Manley became pregnant in the summer of 2010. After Chastain said she’d either have to have an abortion or quit her job, Manley says Chastain drove her to Charlotte, N.C., in his county-issued vehicle and paid for her to abort their child.
In September, Manley says Chastain again demanded she get an abortion when she told him she was pregnant a second time. When Manley refused but told Chastain she wanted to keep her job, she says the sheriff told his subordinates during an October meeting to do “whatever it took” to make her resign, tactics the lawsuit says included “threats of violence.”
Manley subsequently resigned and later opted to have a second abortion, WSPA-TV has reported.
Chastain on Friday referred comment to an attorney, who did not return a message. In several media interviews, Chastain has said he drove Manley to have the July abortion but has denied he forced her to quit.