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Kevin Ellis Gazette staff TheGazetteKevin
Gaston County Commissioner Don Grant faces criminal charges of assault on a female and sexual battery, but the Republican says he has done nothing wrong and asks the public to wait before passing judgment.
“When all of this is said and done, I think you will find that I’ll be vindicated and it will be well known that these charges are not true,” Grant said Friday. “I ask people not to make a decision until they hear all the facts.”
Officers with the State Bureau of Investigation took out the warrants on the misdemeanor charges against Grant, but they have yet to be served. Grant remains on the South Carolina coast taking part in job-relating training and said he will turn himself in at the Gaston County Courthouse on Monday. The SBI often conducts investigations when elected officials are accused of wrongdoing in an effort to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
The allegations stem from a customer Grant says he saw at his business, Grant Exterminating Co., on June 13.Grant said his accuser came to his extermination office that day complaining she had bed bugs at her home. Grant said his wife of more than 15 years was working at the office when the woman came in. Grant said he agreed to stop by the woman’s home while on his way out of town, but did not find any evidence of bed bugs at her home.
Grant said he looked at the woman’s arms and back for bug bites, but did not see any signs of the bugs. He said he recommended that she return to his office to buy some products for bugs if she was still concerned.
“There was nothing sexual about it,” Grant said.
Grant said the woman’s children were home at the time he was there and doors inside the home were never closed.
“I have so much at stake I wouldn’t do something stupid to ruin my reputation and my business,” Grant said.
Because the warrants have not been served, they are not yet public record and the specific nature of the charges could not be verified with law enforcement. District Attorney Locke Bell would only confirm the charges Grant faces, but declined to go into specifics about the case.
Grant said an agent with the SBI called him last month to discuss the woman’s allegations. He said he cooperated, but did not recall her until the agent mentioned the location of the home.
“I remember houses and addresses a lot better than names,” said Grant, who has been in the extermination business 43 years.
He said he shared documents with the agent concerning his training related to bed bugs, insect bites and professionalism.
“People that know me know I’m straight up and I’m about as professional as they come,” Grant said.
Grant, a former chairman of the Gaston County Republican Party, was elected to a four-year term on the county board in 2016 representing Gastonia Township. He said he has never faced allegations like this before.
He said he will defend his reputation and business, adding that allegations do not mean anything wrong occurred.
“She can say what she wants to, but it’s got to be proved,” Grant said. “All I did was look to see if the lady had bed bugs.”
Efforts to reach the woman believed to have made the allegations against Grant were unsuccessful.
You can reach Kevin Ellis at 704-869-1823 or Twitter.com/TheGazetteKevin.
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