HAMPTON, SC (Sept. 21, 2016) – A former middle school resource officer (SRO) in Hampton County has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
A jury found Larry Heyward, 55, guilty of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, engaging in a lewd act with a minor and misconduct in office by a public official, following a three-day trial at the Hampton County Courthouse.
Heyward is a former Hampton County Sheriff’s deputy who was assigned as the SRO at Estill Middle School. The assaults against the child in the case began while he was a student at the middle school.
The victim recorded an explicit phone conversation between himself and the defendant, which was a key piece of evidence, according to the chief prosecutor, Deputy Solicitor Sean Thornton.
“The defendant used his position as a school resource officer to gain access to the victim in this case,” Thornton said. “So often victims of sexual assault are never heard; in this case the victim was heard and justice was done.”
Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cooper handed down the sentence and imposed the maximum sentence for each charge. Heyward will have to register as a sex offender for life.
Career Criminal Prosecutor and Assistant Solicitor Brian Hollen sat second chair.