Alvin Greene, U.S. Senate candidate, indicted on porn charge

Alvin Greene

COLUMBIA - Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene was indicted Friday by a grand jury in Columbia on charges he showed pornography to a female college freshman months before he became the long-shot winner of the party's nomination.

The indictment lists two charges, including a felony count of disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity, and a misdemeanor for communicating obscene materials to another person without consent.

If convicted of the felony, Greene faces a maximum five years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. The misdemeanor carries a maximum of three years and a $10,000 fine.

Reached Friday at his home outside Manning in the central part of the state, Greene, 32, declined comment.

"My lawyer is dealing with that," he said. Then he blurted "that's it," before hanging up.

Greene's attorney, Eleazer Carter of Columbia, said he had not been formally told of the indictment by the 5th Circuit Solicitor's Office but was not surprised to learn it was coming.

"I probably suspected that it would be," he said.

Greene was arrested in November -- long before he was first considered a candidate for high office -- when authorities said he approached a University of South Carolina freshman from Summerville at a campus computer room, showed her obscene photographs online, and talked about heading to the woman's dorm room.

The reported victim, Camille McCoy, who was 18 at the time, testified for about a half-hour Friday morning before a Richland County grand jury as she related what happened.

McCoy earlier had said Greene managed to get by security in her dorm and enter a common computer room where he sat next to her and showed her a screen of graphic pornographic images. "He said, 'Let's go to your room right now,' " she said earlier. "I just ran out of there."

Her mother, Susan McCoy of Summerville, said Friday they received a phone call a short while after Camille's testimony from the solicitor's office confirming the indictment. "I am pleased that it went this far," she said. "I feel that he is a predator."

Despite the indictment, nothing in state law prohibits Greene from campaigning against Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint while the charges play out. However, in the slim chance the case is settled before the election, it sets up an interesting legal question.

State law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from being listed on a South Carolina ballot if it is within 15 years of the completion of a sentence, or if the person has received a pardon. But U.S. Senate qualifications are detailed in the Constitution, which makes no mention of felony disqualification.

Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the State Election Commission, said the agency would likely have to seek legal opinions on how to proceed in putting or keeping Greene on the ballot if the case gets that far. David Ross of the 5th Circuit Solicitor's Office said he had no estimate of when Greene's case would be called.

South Carolina Democratic Party officials, meanwhile, spent hours Friday afternoon with legal advisers trying to determine a response, and emerged to repeat their call that Greene quit the race.

"It will be impossible for Mr. Greene to address his legal issues and run a statewide campaign," said party Chairwoman Carol Fowler. "The indictment renews concerns that Mr. Greene cannot represent the values of the Democratic Party or South Carolina voters."

Without facing a background check, Greene in June stormed on the state and national political stage. After running a virtually invisible primary campaign, he thumped the better-known, better-funded former judge and Charleston County Council member Vic Rawl, winning 59 percent of the vote. Rawl argued there had to be something wrong with the count, given the margin and Greene's lack of appearances.

Since the win, Greene's past has been dissected by the media, uncovering a profile of someone who is unemployed and was drummed out of the military service before coming out of the blue to run for the Senate. He has refused all calls to drop out.

Felipe Farley, one of Greene's political advisers from Simpsonville, said while the legal matter plays out, the campaign will continue.

"We're going to try to focus on the issue of jobs and housing," he said, "and what Mr. Greene will do for the people of south Carolina."

Reach Schuyler Kropf at skropf@postandcourier.com or 937-5551.