Incident at Sanford family farm draws interest from SLED

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford(AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain,file)

The State Law Enforcement Division has opened a preliminary inquiry into an incident in which a niece of U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford was reportedly injured last month on the Sanford family property known as Coosaw Plantation in Beaufort County.

“We will review the facts that have been presented to us to determine if a criminal law may have been violated,” SLED spokesman Thom Berry confirmed Monday.

The SLED inquiry comes at the request of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, which last month filed a deputy report that discussed the niece being injured in an “incident that occurred with her uncle, Mark Sanford.”

The report, provided to The Post and Courier on Monday, was heavily redacted of names or in identifying the complaintant. The incident reportedly occurred June 18, but the sheriff’s office didn’t get involved until three days later.

In a statement, Sanford’s brother John Sanford, said nothing severe happened.

“I am sorry that because my brother is a public figure he is being swept into allegations that are not true,” it said. “To be clear, any suggestion that my brother hurt my daughter’s foot — or would harm my children in any way - is absolutely wrong. Because I am not a public figure, I would ask that the press not attempt to sensationalize these misleading reports whose printing could harm my children.”

Sanford, R-Mount Pleasant, declined comment but issued a brief response.

“I stand by my brother’s statement,” he said.

The date of the incident was four days after Sanford, also the state’s former governor, won the Republican primary for his 1st Congressional District seat nomination.