Former SC police officer pleads guilty in domestic violence case

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A former Greenville County police officer pleaded guilty to domestic violence Thursday.

Michael Valdario, 32 of Greer, pleaded guilty to third-degree domestic violence in Greenville County Court after being charged in 2019 with second-degree domestic violence.

Judge Alex Kinlaw gave Valdario credit for the one day he was in jail when arrested in 2019, according to court records. Kinlaw could have sentenced Valdario to up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $2,500 under South Carolina law.

The judge also ordered that Valdario cannot own guns, records show, effectively ending any chance that he could be a police officer again.

Valdario was a Greenville deputy from 2015 to 2019 and an officer with the Greenville Police Department from 2011 to 2015.

In 2019, Valdario slammed his wife against a refrigerator after she said he was playing too rough with their daughter, a police report said. She tried to walk away but he followed. Afraid of what he would do next, she got a gun and held it by her side until he walked away, the report said.

During an argument about two weeks later, he elbowed her, causing her to fall and to hit her face on a bed frame. Her lip was busted and some teeth broken, the report said. After she got him to leave, she gathered up all the guns to stop him from getting one. His wife told police she was “constantly in fear of what he will do,” according to the report.

Traveler’s Rest Police Department charged Valdario with second-degree domestic violence and the Greenville sheriff’s office fired him.

Valdario still has charges pending in a separate case.

In 2020, Lexington County deputies charged Valdario with two counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, two counts of second-degree exploitation of a minor, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping.

Valdario is accused of raping a teenager, asking her for sexually explicit photos and sending sexual messages to her over the course of 2020.

Valdario could go to prison for 30 years if found guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

SC officers charges in violence against women

In April, The State reported on the number of SC police officers who were charged from 2010 to 2020 with violence against women. Most of those charges were domestic violence.

On average, nine police officers a year are accused of violence against women in SC. Survivor advocates said that number was likely too low and didn’t given an accurate picture of the amount of violence because victims don’t always report abuse, fearing further harm.

In 2021, at least 14 police officers have been accused or convicted of violence against women.

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