COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A South Carolina sheriff charged with domestic violence last week says he’s taking a leave of absence.
Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland said in a statement he’ll take the time to heal and self-reflect.
Strickland was charged with second-degree criminal domestic violence.
An arrest warrant says the 40-year-old sheriff punched a woman in his home in the face more than once and took her cellphones so she couldn’t call for help.
Strickland’s statement Monday evening didn’t mention the allegations but did say he plans to be stronger and a better public official when he returns to his job.
The charge against Strickland is a misdemeanor. He faces up to three years in prison if convicted.
According to a redacted SLED report, on November 7th around 10 p.m. Strickland argued and assaulted an unknown female household member by “punching them in the face with a closed fist, more than once which cased moderate bodily injury.”
The report also says the victim sustained a defensive injury to the arm in an attempt to protect her face.
It goes on to say Strickland physically took possession of the victim’s cell phones and tried blocking access to both phones. That prevented the victim from being able to report the incident or receive emergency medical assistance.
According to SLED, Stickland also damaged the vehicle the victim attempted to leave in.
The injuries were also photographed by SLED agents. The report says, “they are consistent with her recollection of event.”
The 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Offices says they will prosecute this case.
Sheriff Strickland released a statement announcing his leave of absence.
“For the last seven years the great citizens of Colleton County have placed their trust in me. As Sheriff, out of love, and respect for my employees, and the citizens of Colleton County, I have placed myself on a leave of absence. Effective immediately. This is standard policy within our office.R.A. STRICKLAND
Chief Deputy, Buddy Hill, is someone I’ve always placed great trust in. He will continue to provide due diligence to the citizens of our community during my absence. This time will allow me to heal, and self-reflect on myself. I will strive to be stronger, and better at serving the citizens of Colleton, and my employees upon returning.”
Nine sheriffs in South Carolina have been convicted of crimes this decade.