South Carolina man's sexual misconduct charge shows up on public records after media pressure

Bowen Turner, who was accused of three sexual assaults, struck a plea deal last month that would allow him to avoid jail time if he completes probation

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A sexual misconduct charge against a South Carolina 19-year-old who allegedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old at a party in June 2019 is available on the state's public index this week for the first time, just days after a local media outlet pressured the court about the absence of the charge. 

Records now show that the suspect, Bowen Turner, pleaded guilty to a reduced count of assault and battery last month after striking a plea deal that would allow him to avoid jail and the sex offender registry if he completes five years of probation. 

Attorneys for local news outlet WCSC had pressured the court to make the original sexual misconduct charge available on the index, arguing that the public's right to access the information was being violated. 

Bowen Turner, 19, was arrested for disorderly conduct, threatening a public employee, and purchasing alcohol as a minor earlier this month. 

Bowen Turner, 19, was arrested for disorderly conduct, threatening a public employee, and purchasing alcohol as a minor earlier this month.  (Orangeburg County Detention Center)

Turner was charged with violating his probation last week after he allegedly bought drinks underage at a local bar, lied to a deputy who stopped him while he was stumbling in the road, then told the officer that he would bite his finger off if he had to wear a mask, according to an arrest report obtained by Fox News Digital. 

The 19-year-old is now facing new charges of disorderly conduct, threatening a public employee, and purchasing alcohol as a minor in relation to that latest incident. 

SOUTH CAROLINA MAN ACCUSED OF 3 SEX ASSAULTS IS CHARGED WITH VIOLATING PROBATION, DISORDERLY CONDUCT

A charge for violation of probation was filed on May 9, but that record is no longer present on the public index. The Orangeburg County Clerk of Court did not respond to a request for comment about the shifting public records surrounding Turner's cases. 

Turner was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to first-degree assault and battery instead of the two first-degree criminal sexual misconduct charges that he was facing. 

Turner was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to first-degree assault and battery instead of the two first-degree criminal sexual misconduct charges that he was facing.  (Bamburg County Detention Center)

Turner was accused of three different sexual assaults and was originally facing two counts of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct for incidents that occurred in October 2018 and June 2019. 

Circuit Judge Markley Dennis sentenced him to five years of probation on April 8, saying at the hearing that if "he has completed five years without any violations and has done all the counseling necessary, then he will not have to register as a sex offender." 

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The victim in the alleged June 2019 assault, Chloe Bess, expressed dismay at the plea deal and sentence. 

"It's been very confusing and challenging for me to come to terms with everything and just try to understand, and I can't because it's so corrupt and just doesn't make sense," Bess previously told Fox News Digital. "I can't wrap my head around it."

Chloe Bess, center left, saw Bowen Turner plead guilty to lesser charges in connection with her sex assault allegations last month.

Chloe Bess, center left, saw Bowen Turner plead guilty to lesser charges in connection with her sex assault allegations last month. (Nicole McCune, South Carolina Victim Assistance Network)

The other sexual misconduct charge that Turner was facing for allegedly assaulting Dallas Stoller in October 2018 was dropped after the victim passed away last year. 

"The solicitor dropped Dallas’s case because they said that she was not here to testify that it was not consensual," Stoller's sister, Brette Tabatabai, previously told Fox News Digital. "Even though they had written statements. They had a witness statement. They had physical evidence, everything they need."

Stoller's family is now petitioning for Second Circuit Solicitor Bill Weeks to reopen the case and take it to a grand jury. 

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An attorney for Turner's victims, Sarah Ford, previously told Fox News Digital that Turner was investigated for a third assault in 2018, but no charges were ultimately filed. 

Turner's attorney, state senator Brad Hutto, did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.  

Fox News's Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.