Thomas Wayne Pickard, 52 years-old, has been arrested and charged with first-offense prostitution. Currently, this volunteer fire chief from the Indian Land Fire Department is sitting in the York County Jail, reports My Fox8. Pickard was arrested Friday in a prostitution sting just outside the Carowinds area in a motel, reports from WSOC TV.
Pickard has officially been placed on administrative leave from his second job as a full-time lieutenant with Lancaster County Fire Rescue. Pickard has been with that department since 1996 and has served as their chief for two years. His administrative leave is without pay until a personnel investigation has finished being conducted.
An Indian Land resident, Hope Williams, gave her own remark to reporters, explaining her total shock and disbelief at the situation.
“[I] believe whatever is going on is in his personal life.”
Eight other individuals were arrested alongside Pickard, having also been caught up in the York County Sheriff’s Department prostitution sting. Investigators state that Pickard was led into a room by an undercover officer, where he agreed to pay money for sex. Not only were authorities after potential prostitution clients, but they also stated that they had some undercover officers going after those women, who were advertising their services online.
There are various laws which criminalize prostitution, pimping, and pandering in the state of South Carolina, where this sting took place. There are laws in the state against buying, selling, or profiting from the sale of sex, cites Criminal Defense Lawyer. These crimes are punished more severely if the crime occurs within 1000 yards of a child care facility. Though Carowinds is not a child care facility, it is a large amusement park that attracts young children and their families.
According to the law of prostitution in the state of South Carolina, it is defined as exchanging sex for money or other valuable items, and is completely illegal. Two dictations of this law state that individuals may not expose oneself for the “purposes of prostitution or other indecency” or “reside in, enter or remain in any place, structure, building, vehicle, trailer or conveyance for the purpose of lewdness, assignation or prostitution.”
It is also illegal to patronize a prostitute’s services, which is what Pickard is being accused of. South Carolina laws state that one has patronized if they have received any “person for the purposes of lewdness, assignation or prostitution into any vehicle, conveyance, trailer, place, structure or building,” or have permitted “any person to remain for the purpose of lewdness, assignation or prostitution in any vehicle, conveyance, trailer, place, structure or building,” cites Criminal Defense Lawyer.