A longtime Columbia lawyer's law license was suspended Thursday by the S.C. Supreme Court, a week after his arrest on child molestation charges.
Harry Gregory Jr., 61, former head of the State Accident Fund, was charged with lewd acts on a child from 2002 to 2004, according to the Richland County Sheriff's Department.
"It is ordered that respondent's (Gregory's) license to practice law in this state is suspended until further order of this Court," said the terse order, signed by all five justices. The order did not refer to the charges.
The Supreme Court's practice is to temporarily suspend a lawyer's law license if the attorney is charged with a felony or other serious crime. The suspension will normally be lifted if the defendant is acquitted or the charges are dismissed.
Gregory was arrested around dawn March 18 when a team of law officers showed up at his house on Windsor Road and summoned him outside with a loudspeaker. Officers then executed a search warrant on his home and yard, according to a sheriff's department release.
Gregory was released on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond that afternoon. That means he did not put up any money but has pledged to appear in court when summoned.
His lawyer, Greg Harris, said in an interview last week that Magistrate Mildred Metts found that Gregory was neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community.
Gregory is a longtime Columbia area resident whose parents live in the area and who has been living in the same house for some 30 years, Harris said. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and its law school. Gregory has no prior criminal record and the allegations against him are more than 15 years old, Harris said.
Members of the sheriff's department Fugitive Task Force, Special Victims Unit, Major Crimes Unit, and the Columbia Police Department participated in the arrest.
If convicted on the felony charge, Gregory would face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine, according to South Carolina law.