April 25, 2014

Legislator resigns over harassment charges (AUDIO)

Rep. Thad Viers (R-Myrtle Beach) announced Wednesday he has resigned his seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives, saying he is facing a likely indictment on a harassment charge from his ex-girlfriend.

Rep. Thad Viers announces his resignation Wednesday (Courtesy: SCETV)

“I have to do the honorable thing for this institution which I have served for almost a third of my life,” Viers told fellow legislators from the floor Wednesday. He officially resigned five minutes later.

AUDIO: Complete speech by Viers (5:36)

Viers was arrested in January and charged with first-degree harassment after his former girlfriend told police he would not stop calling and texting her and continued to show up at her home.

Under House rules, a member is suspended automatically once he or she is indicted on criminal charges. Viers said he expects to be indicted Thursday. Because his ex-girlfriend works in the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s office for Horry County, the case will be prosecuted by the 4th Circuit Solicitor’s Office out of Marlboro County.

After his arrest, Viers said he would not run for re-election. He also dropped his bid for an open seat in Congress. He has served in the House since 2002.

On Wednesday, Viers claimed he is being targeted for political reasons, “As a taxpayer and fiscal conservative, I find it shocking the amount of resources being spent on this politically-motivated matter over a few love letters.”

Viers is the second legislator to lose his seat due to legal troubles this year. Rep. Harold Mitchell (D-Spartanburg) is currently suspended after his indictment on tax charges in January.