SC county councilman charged with domestic violence, child neglect suspended by McMaster

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Oconee County wesbite/Provided

Gov. Henry McMaster has suspended a county councilman from office after he was was charged with domestic violence and neglect of a child last week.

The suspension of Oconee County Councilman Matthew Durham, 38, of Mountain Rest, was announced in a brief state from the governor’s office on Monday.

“Immediately following the indictment of Oconee County Councilman Matthew Durham, Governor Henry McMaster issued Executive Order 2022-15, suspending Durham from office,” the statement reads. “Durham is suspended until such a time as he is formally acquitted or convicted, or until a duly elected successor is qualified and takes the oath of office.”

Warrants drawn up by SLED allege Durham grabbed, pushed or shoved a member of his household in front of two minor children on Sept. 4, 2020. The warrant does not name a victim.

Durham is also accused of putting his 6-year-old child at risk of being harmed by exposing the child to multiple instances of domestic violence between March 21, 2020 and Aug. 12, 2021.

In one instance, the warrant said the child attempted to intervene to protect the victim.

Durham, a first-term county councilman, ran on a no-tax increase promise and described himself in an Independent Mail article as pro-Trump, pro-guns, pro-life and “a Christian, conservative, family man and a lifetime Republican.”

At the time, he said he was a licensed reactor operator with Duke Energy.

SLED was requested to investigate by the Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. Durham was booked at the Oconee County Detention Center on Friday.

The case will be prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

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