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S.C. Sheriff's Ex-Mistress Files Lawsuit

LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. -- News 4 has learned the woman, identified in the lawsuit as Allison Haley Manley, has also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Sheriff Ricky Chastain and Laurens County and the Laurens County Sheriff's Office.

The suit focuses on two pregnancies, one of which Manley says Chastain forced her to end with an abortion.

Manley claims Chastain conspired with several other people to force to resign her position after she refused to get a second abortion and to not continue a "discreet sexual relationship."

Individuals named in the suit besides Chastain were: Administrative Services Division Capt. Michael Thomason, Community Services Division Capt. Luther "Ted" Richardson, Uniform Patrol Division Capt. Duane Howard and Denna Griffin, sex offender registry administrative clerk.

The suit said that Manley started her employment with the Laurens County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 7, 2008. The lawsuit says that Manley began an affair with Chastain in February 2008. Manley said after she became pregnant in June or July of 2010, Chastain told her she had to have an abortion or resign.

The lawsuit says Manley agreed to have an abortion, and that Chastain drove her to a clinic in Charlotte, N.C., to have it performed. The suit alleges that on the day a doctor confirmed that the abortion was completed, Chastain gave Manley a check for $14,500 payable to Manley's grandfather, so the Manley could move into a bigger house.

The lawsuit says that on Sept. 26, 2010, Manley informed Chastain that she was pregnant again. She said he told her to have another abortion, but she decided not to.

Manley said co-workers began to harass and threaten her, and when she told Chastain, he told her to expect more and that she should resign.

The lawsuit alleges that Chastain gathered subordinates on Oct. 4, 2010, and instructed them to do "whatever it took to make the Plaintiff resign her employment." The suit alleges that the other individuals named in the suit attended that meeting.

Manley said that the work environment became "so hostile she felt forced to resign." She said Chastain substantiated "threats of violence and the acts of violence would continue until she quit her employment."

The lawsuit says "The Plaintiff in fear for her own safety and well-being resigned her employment on Oct. 6, 2010."

The causes of action in the lawsuit are listed as interference with employment contract and as intentional infliction of emotional distress/outrage.

The Laurens County Administrator told News 4 that the county does have a policy prohibiting relationships between supervisors and their employees. But because the sheriff is an elected official, that policy really doesn't apply to him.

Chastain's lawyer confirmed that the sheriff was served with the lawsuit late Thursday afternoon. He has advised Chastain to make no further comment.

The attorney representing the woman is still refusing to comment.

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