A Lowcountry antiques dealer arrested last week over allegations of sexual misconduct with a young employee has resigned as chairman of the Walterboro-Colleton County Chamber of Commerce, his attorney said Monday.
David Alan Evans, 55, of Savage Street in Walterboro was jailed Friday on a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He had no prior arrest history in South Carolina, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.
The accusation stemmed from a complaint by a juvenile who worked at Bachelor Hill Antiques, a shop Evans operates in Walterboro, according to an incident report. The alleged victim told Walterboro Public Safety officers that Evans forced oral sex on the juvenile after being told several times to stop, the report stated.
Chamber officials offered conflicting accounts about his resignation, but Evans' attorney, Margie Bright Matthews, said her client resigned the day after his arrest to limit any negative impact on the chamber.
A man who answered the telephone at Evans' antiques store Monday refused to identify himself and instead deferred questions to Matthews.
Evans plans to "vigorously defend himself," Matthews said, by providing information documenting an alibi for when his accuser said the crime occurred and by cooperating with detectives.
The attorney said the accuser had been fired before reporting the alleged incident to the police. Matthews would not say why the alleged victim was fired, but the attorney and her client planned to provide the authorities with documentation of the reasons, she said.
"This is a young man who (Evans) was trying to help and trying to work with," Matthews said. "We have no idea why this young man would come forward with these baseless accusations. ... All we can think of is retaliation."
Evans resigned as Chamber of Commerce chairman on Saturday, Matthews said, because "he didn't want anything that was out of his control to tarnish the work he has done with the chamber."
Jeremy Ware, the chamber's president, said Evans had planned to give up his post because he had opened a store in the Charleston area.
"My understanding was that he was too busy and wouldn't have time to do chamber stuff anymore," Ware said Monday.
The incident was alleged to have occurred July 4 at Evans' antiques store at 255 E. Washington St. in Walterboro, the police report stated.
The 16-year-old accuser was accompanied by a legal guardian when the allegation was first reported to officers Aug. 13, according to the document.
Evans was arrested Friday and released the same day on his own recognizance, according to Colleton County court records.
The felony charge was filed in Walterboro municipal court, and it's punishable with up to 10 years in prison.
In setting the $10,000 personal recognizance bail, Associate Municipal Judge Morrison Payne allowed Evans to travel out of state for business purposes, according to the records.
Evans has been one of several Walterboro business officials who have been outspoken in their hopes to shake the area's past of violence and gang activity, and to portray the community as quiet and charming.
"This is a great town," he told The Post and Courier last fall. "People should be flocking here."
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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