Underage drinking is illegal, you’d think a lawmaker would know that, but to some, it doesn’t matter. A South Carolina lawmaker has been indicted on multiple charges after he allegedly tried to use his power to influence an investigation and provided a minor with alcohol, according to the state Attorney General’s Office, the Associated Press reported.
Rep. Richard “Rick” Ansel Martin was indicted on two charges Friday by a Newberry County Grand Jury on charges of misconduct in office and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
According to the first indictment, between Dec. 4, 2019, and Jan. 31, 2020, while serving in the South Carolina House of Representatives, Martin used his position to try to influence an investigation at the Department of Social Services.
The second indictment states that between Jan. 1, 2019, and Jan. 31, 2019, Martin contributed to the delinquency of a minor by providing her with alcohol to drink when she was under the age of 21. The girl in question was 15 years old. Whether the two charges are related is unclear at this time.
According to The State, House Speaker Jay Lucas suspended Martin effective immediately from the House within minutes after the indictment charges were announced. Martin will remain suspended until the criminal case against him is resolved. He will then either be reinstated or his seat declared vacant.
Martin has served in the state House since 2017. He was elected to serve 40th District in 2016, with a term set to expire next year. According to his State House bio, he has four children, and has been a foster parent since 2010. Due to the indictment charges Martin will no longer be licensed as a foster parent. A spokesperson for the Department of Social Services also noted that there have been no placements in his home since December 2019.
Martin will be arraigned on Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 2 p.m. in Newberry County before Judge G.D. Morgan Jr.
If found guilty of supplying the alcohol, he could be fined up to $3,000 and sentenced to up to three years in prison.
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