Folly Beach officer suspended, fights for job

A Folly Beach officer was suspended in July and now he'll fight to keep his job at a grievance hearing. (Scott Garrand/WCIV)

By Natalie

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) - A Folly Beach public safety officer is fighting to keep his job after his suspension.

According to documents obtained from the town, Officer Ronald Avallone requested a grievance hearing, which will be heard before the grievance committee made up of town staff members.

Avallone was suspended on July 31st, according to town records. Public Safety office documents show the findings of an investigation into the actions of Avallone on June 23rd.

According to those records, public safety officials believe the officer's actions resulted in the 'delayed arrest of a serious criminal.' The 'findings' page of the documents describe why leaders suspended Avallone following his handling of a reported "disturbance" on the beach area near the pier. Part of the statement reads:

Avallone had received information from the original complainant that a male had assaulted a young girl on the beach with unwelcomed touchingThe male had set down in a group of individuals and committed the assault. Avallone approached the male and did not undertake a thorough investigation. He escorted the male off the beach and did not return to complete an investigation.

An internal review document says around 9:30 p.m. on June 23rd the man, Fred Rogers, was accused of sexually assaulting the young girl on the beach. It says after the Rogers left the scene, he returned to his condo complex where officials say he sexually assaulted another woman at a pool. According to documents, charges have been filed in those cases against Rogers.

"The complaint was investigated and substantiated, thus leading to additional charges," the statement read.

The statement goes on to say, "it is my determination after a review of the facts in this case that the victimization of the womanwould not have occurred had PSO Avallone completed a proper and thorough investigation/arrest" during the first incident.

"This opens up the city to numerous civil liabilities unnecessarily," it states.

According to a document stating to be an interview with Ron Avallone, the officer "advised that he felt part of the issue with the all was a lack of communication between him and the assisting officers." It says Avallone claims he let the man leave while the assisting officers were speaking with the witnesses.

A copy of a letter to the human resources department and the grievance committee from Avallone, obtained from the town, says Avallone claims the interviews, investigation and findings are flawed. It says Avallone requested the hearing to be held in open session to the public.

The grievance hearing is on Monday, August 27th at 7 p.m. Folly Beach Public Safety Chief Dennis Brown and Mayor Tim Goodwin did not want to comment on the case.

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