Nude photo to teen charge is dismissed
Criminal charges have been dismissed against a man accused first of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and later of disseminating harmful material or exhibiting harmful performance to minors.
Billy James Hayes, who lived in Clinton and now lives in Anderson County, received paperwork from the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office stating that on July 12 charges against him have been dismissed.
The Clinton Department of Public Safety arrested Hayes on Sept. 9, 2016, and charges against him were upgraded on Nov. 4, 2016. The prosecution has ended, the paperwork says, because “victim has indicated she does not wish to prosecute.”
Hayes said today he signed a paper agreeing not to file a lawsuit in the matter. Since the day of his arrest - for an alleged incident the night of the Dempsey’s restaurant fire - Hayes has said he did nothing wrong.
Sept. 14, 2016: Hayes arrested for allegedly showing girl a nude photo
A Clinton man, who wanted to run for the office of Laurens County Coroner, has been arrested by Clinton authorities and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Billy James Hayes, 27, of 94 Jim’s Town Rd., was arrested Friday in connection with an Aug. 14 incident. On the evening of the fire at Dempsey’s restaurant, Hayes allegedly showed a 16-year-old girl a photo on his cellphone, a report said. The photo reportedly showed male genitalia, and Hayes’ action allegedly “endangered the morals and health” of the girl.
Hayes turned himself in at the Clinton Department of Public Safety Friday afternoon. He said prior to the arrest that Clinton police had taken his phone and refused to give it back. Hayes said he was looking into an inappropriate relationship between a Clinton police officer and the 16-year-old, an allegation that local officials have denied.
Hayes was the Republican candidate for Laurens County Coroner, challenging incumbent Democrat Nick Nichols, who filed a lawsuit claiming Hayes did not fill out his filing form correctly. A circuit judge sided with Nichols, and removed Hayes from the ballot in August. William Weir filed as the Republican candidate to challenge Nichols in the November General Election.
Earlier, Hayes sent to the news media explicit text messages that Laurens County Sheriff Ricky Chastain allegedly exchanged with a Greenwood woman. How Hayes came into possession of the messages from the woman’s cellphone has been the subject of state and local investigations, but no charges were filed. Chastain was defeated for re-election.
Hayes also has been charged by local authorities in a gun pointing incident and with having multiple driver’s licenses, but was not convicted in either allegation.
Former owner of a private ambulance company in Clinton, Hayes was involved in earlier disputes related to response times of the Laurens County Emergency Management Service, and its private services response agreements.
In the latest incident, Hayes was released on $5,000 bond.