The governor has removed a mayor from office more than a month after the mayor pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge.
Gov. Henry McMaster’s executive order filed Friday removes John Kay Hansen from office as the Ware Shoals mayor. The community of roughly 2,000 people is located more than 30 miles south of Greenville. Hanson pleaded guilty to third-degree domestic violence back in June for a 2016 incident involving his ex-wife. Police reports said he shoved her into a wall then on a bed during an argument and forcefully tried to grab her cellphone.
The South Carolina constitution gives the governor the authority to remove local elected officials for crimes involving “moral turpitude.” It does not list specific crimes to define moral turpitude beyond an “act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the social duties which a man owes to his fellow man or society in general, contrary to the accepted customary rule of right and duty between man and man.”
Hansen had insisted on remaining in the job. The Greenwood Index Journal noted he revealed a letter his ex-wife had written at a town council meeting which stated she believed he still had the town’s best-interest at heart despite what happened.
The order came after McMaster’s office asked the state Attorney General’s Office for its opinion clarifying if Hansen’s actions met the threshold. It was not clear if the AG’s Office responded by Friday, however.