A Breach of Trust: Standing Up for Victims of HCPD
“No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded by the common law, than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.” Union Pac. Ry. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891).”
Law enforcement agencies are placed in the highest position of trust and power. They can literally take our most fundamental right as citizens – our freedom. When that power, the gun and the badge, is used to exploit the most vulnerable members of our society, in the most despicable of ways, someone must step up and hold them accountable. That is what our clients did this past May during two back-to-back federal jury trials.
The federal lawsuits involved allegations that Senior Detective Allen Large of the Horry County Police Department sexually assaulted two citizens while performing his duties as sworn law enforcement officer of the Horry County Police Department. The evidence presented to the jury at trial showed that Detective Large selected his victims carefully. Sadly, our clients were victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence of the worst degree before they ever came in contact with the Horry County Police Department. The evidence illustrated that Detective Large would personally select the cases which he was assigned to “investigate” and would then do everything but investigate.
Shortly after being retained on these cases, the attorneys of Evans Moore provided evidence and witness statements to the S.C. Attorney General’s Office. Ultimately, Detective Large was criminally indicted on 11 counts of misconduct in office and criminal sexual conduct.
Unfortunately, Detective Large died while on house arrest and never stood trial for his criminal offenses. The defendants at trial were the Horry County Police Department, the former Chief of Police, and the former Deputy Chief of Police, who had received multiple complaints of inappropriate conduct by Detective Large with crime victims over a period of at least thirteen years.
Incredibly, at trial the Defendants denied the incidents had taken place while simultaneously insisting that they were consensual if they did take place. Fortunately, the jury saw through this flimsy defense and the many excuses for not taking action against Detective Large sooner. They awarded over $2 million in damages to Jane Doe 3 and over $500,000 in damages to Jane Doe 4 for their injuries, more than 20 times what the Defendants’ insurance company offered each woman to settle before the trial.
While we were proud to help these women obtain justice and closure for what they endured, the fight is sadly not over. We hope that the Horry County government and other law enforcement agencies will soon take action to address these problems. In the meantime, we’ll keep holding them accountable.
This article appears in the December 2022/January 2023 issue of our newsletter.