SLED could investigate sexual abuse allegations against former solicitor

NewsChannel 15 has learned the South Carolina Attorney General's Office and the State Law Enforcement Division have been asked to look into sexual abuse allegations against Jay Hodge.

We're waiting to learn if the agencies will investigate.

Hodge is accused of molesting two brothers, ages 10 and 11, when he was a Boy Scout leader between 1975 and 1980.

The men, now 47 and 48 years old, have filed a civil lawsuit against Hodge, Boy Scouts of America, ( Pee Dee Area Council Boy Scouts of America, ( First Presbyterian Church of Cheraw, and the Estate of William Hebard. They are seeking unspecified damages.

Hodge served as solicitor for the Fourth Circuit, which covers Chesterfield, Darlington, Marlboro and Dillon counties, for 12 years. He retired from office in 2008, but continues to practice law in Chesterfield County.

According to the lawsuit, Hodge and Hebard were Scout Leaders and engaged in various sexual acts with the boys, including fondling, masturbation and oral sex.

A report detailing psychological evaluation of the accusers attached to the lawsuit says the abuse happened a few times during camping trips to Huntington Beach State Park, Camp Bob Cooper in Santee, Hodge's home, and at First Presbyterian Church.

The report says the church pastor at the time removed Hebard as troop leader, but police were not called.

The lawsuit says Boy Scouts of America, Pee Dee Area Council Boy Scouts of America, and First Presbyterian Church all failed to report Hebard and Hodge to law enforcement and failed to exclude them from acting as Scout leaders.

It says they continued to let Hodge and Hebard be involved in Boy Scout activities after learning of the alleged abuse.

"It's a lie," Hodge said in response to the lawsuit. "People who do know me, parents who have entrusted their children with me for 35 years will know that it's a lie. Many who don't know me, once the names of the 40-year-old alleged victims are revealed, will also realize it's a lie and will see what their motive is."

Those closest to Hodge say these allegations are false and this attack against him is political. They believe he will be vindicated.