The general counsel for the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference on Tuesday to address the recent lawsuit filed against Sheriff Will Lewis.
Savannah Nabors, a former employee for the Sheriff’s Office, filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Lewis that claims he sexually assaulted her then later stalked her and harassed her until she resigned in April.
Last week, Lewis admitted to having a “consensual encounter” with Nabors but denied the allegations brought against him. He also said he plans to continue to serve as sheriff.
Lance Sheek, general counsel for the Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday that he is unable to comment on the allegations due to rules governing pre-trial publicity. He did, however, address the legal process and timeline of events regarding the lawsuit.
Sheek said a Lowcountry firm notified him that Nabors planned to file a lawsuit. The firm then requested that the Sheriff’s Office retain all records related to Nabors’ employment, including emails, text messages, and other documents.
“We made sure we locked down all information that we had in our possession related to the plaintiff and preserve that so it’s not purged from our records or otherwise lost,” said Sheek. “Then, of course, we reached out to the law firm to say, ‘Can you tell us what the nature of the allegations are?’”
Nabors then published allegations against Lewis on a blog in August, according to Sheek, who said Lewis immediately requested that he contact the S.C. Law Enforcement Division for an independent investigation into the allegations.
When Sheek contacted the law firm, he learned that it no longer represented Nabors. He then contacted the firm that took over the case to request a copy of a verified complaint, and learned that the second firm was no longer representing her either.
Nabors is now represented by Lauren Taylor, Kyle and Druanne White.
Sheek said his office has contacted Nabors’ attorneys to request a verified complaint, but they have not yet received it. He also noted that his office has not yet been served with the lawsuit, which was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Greenville County on Oct. 16.
“I have indicated we are willing to accept service on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office if they want to send it over,” Sheek said
According to Sheek, it isn’t unusual for there to be a delay in serving a lawsuit after it is filed. “I certainly can’t speak to why we haven’t been served and don’t mean to imply one thing or another,” he said. “I’ve seen cases that take weeks to be served.”
Sheek stressed that the Sheriff’s Office won’t be able to respond to the complaint until they are officially served the lawsuit.
When questioned, Sheek said he doesn’t think the lawsuit has been a distraction to the employees of the Sheriff’s Office.
“The men and women of this agency have surpassed anything I could ever hope for in a law enforcement agency,” he said. “They continue to do the work of this agency on a daily basis with a dedication that I find to be so admirable.”
Sheek also said he won’t be able to comment on the SLED investigation until it has concluded. But he urged the community to “let the system work the way it’s designed to and then make a determination about the case at the appropriate time.”
“We want fairness to all the parties,” Sheek added.