Singer charged in child sex case



A Mount Pleasant rock singer’s tour is on hold after he was arrested Monday on charges of sexually assaulting a young girl during a two-year period.

John Brannen, 60, of Parapet Court is jailed without bail on two charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct on a minor and one count of a lewd act on a minor.

Brannen’s website bills him as an American roots and Heartland rock singer who has signed contracts with Mercury Records in Nashville and Sly Dog in Detroit. He was born in Savannah but raised in Charleston.

The accusations against him first arose from 2009 to 2011 but were revived in January after the alleged victim, now 9, told counselors about her encounters with Brannen, according to the Mount Pleasant Police Department.

His attorney, Andy Savage of Charleston, said that family members with whom Brannen has had much discord have pushed the case. Brannen has no criminal history.

“(The accusations) were developed not from the child but through interested parties,” Savage said. “That’s the context. ... I think that’s really important.”

The girl said that between the ages of 6 and 8 Brannen made her grab his genitals and forced her to kiss his lips at his West Palmetto Fort Drive home, the affidavits stated.

At other times, Brannen made her strip and participate in sex acts, the girl told counselors. “Way more than one time,” the girl said, he fondled her.

“I try to get these things out of my head,” she said during an interview at the Lowcountry Children’s Center.

But the interview included a wide range of accusations.

She said he “drinks alcohol all the time and the only thing in the refrigerator is beer,” the report stated. She also has seen cocaine, marijuana and Ecstasy in the home, the document added. He has kicked and slapped her, she told counselors.

Since that Jan. 18 interview, Savage said his client has cooperated with investigators. He said that when the accusations first popped up two years ago, the girl divulged nothing in interviews with counselors.

During a bond hearing Monday, Savage asked Magistrate Linda Lombard to grant his client bail, but she denied it “out of an abundance of caution.”

Brannen already has canceled six tour dates because of the case. “We’ve worked with (the police) in an effort to keep the peace,” Savage said. “He’s supposed to be on tour.”