Former medal-winning police officer charged with sex crimes involving minors, authorities say

A former South Carolina law enforcement officer once recognized for valor while on duty was arrested last week on suspicion of sex abuse involving minors.

Kip Dwayne Teal, 50, who worked for four police departments before serving as a deputy coroner in Spartanburg County, was taken into custody March 20 and charged with multiple criminal sexual conduct counts involving minors. The youths ranged in age from younger than 11 to 16, authorities said.

Teal allegedly committed the crimes between August 2013 and August 2016, the South Carolina Attorney General's Office said.

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In 2001, Teal received the Medal of Valor from the South Carolina Police Chiefs Association after helping to pull a disabled man from the path of an oncoming train, the Spartanburg Herald-Journal reported.

He is scheduled to appear in court Friday for an arraignment and bond hearing. If convicted Teal could face up to 15 years in prison.