Former Abbeville County judge takes plea, sentenced to 90 days in jail
Friday, May 16, 2014 2:47 PM
Former Abbeville County magistrate judge George “Tommy” Ferguson was convicted Friday morning of using his position to engage in sex acts with multiple women.
Ferguson pleaded guilty to two counts of misconduct in office during a plea hearing in Lexington County, officials with the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office announced in an email. Circuit Court Judge William Keesley issued the embattled judge a one-year prison sentence, suspended to 90 days in jail, 5 years of probation and 400 hours community service. Officials said he would serve his jail term on the weekends, and will remain on house arrest during the timeframe it takes him complete the full incarceration.
Ferguson faced a maximum 20 year sentence on the two misconduct in office counts. He joined the Abbeville County magistrate’s office in 1990 and served more than 20 years as its chief judge, a post he retained until early 2013 when he stepped down citing health concerns.
Ferguson remained on board with the magistrate office, listed as a deputy magistrate, until he resigned from the office days before indictments from a state grand jury surfaced last April. The indictments alleged he gave two women with matters pending before him in the courtroom money and preferential treatment in exchange for sexual favors. His encounters with both women spanned at least 10 years, and the relationship with one of the victims stemmed all the way back to 1996, according to the indictments.
During Friday’s plea hearing, Ferguson admitted to giving the two women money and benefits in exchange for sexual contact for years. It was not yet clear when he would begin his jail time and where he would serve it out.