Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jun 2003
Source: Post and Courier, The (Charleston, SC)
Copyright: 2003 Evening Post Publishing Co.
Authors: Glenn Smith, Susanne Cervenka, of The Post and Courier Staff
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Prominent Charleston lawyer Dennis Rhoad resigned from The Citadel's 
governing board Tuesday following his arrest on cocaine charges at a 
Wentworth Street fraternity house.

College of Charleston public safety officers arrested Rhoad and five others 
early Saturday after they were reportedly seen dividing and snorting lines 
of cocaine around a pool table at the Sigma Chi fraternity, police said.

Rhoad, 41, is charged with cocaine possession. At a bail hearing Saturday 
morning, Magistrate Priscilla Baldwin released him on a $5,000 personal 
recognizance bond.

It was unclear why Rhoad or the other suspects, ages 21 to 35, were in the 
fraternity house shortly after 3 a.m. They are not students at the college, 
said Virginia Friedman, a College of Charleston spokeswoman.

"The people who were in the fraternity and who were there for the summer 
were upstairs asleep," she said. "They weren't charged with anything."

Billy Jenkinson, chairman of the military college's Board of Visitors, said 
he was absolutely stunned when Rhoad called him Monday and told him of the 
arrest. Rhoad said "he had to do the right thing" and step down, effective 
Tuesday, while the charge against him is pending, Jenkinson said.

"We, of course, are deeply saddened by the circumstances surrounding his 
resignation from the Board of Visitors." he said. "We support Dennis and 
his family as he takes the necessary steps to resolve the situation."

Rhoad, a 1984 Citadel graduate, had served on the governing board since 
1995. Jenkinson said Rhoad was a hard-working, dependable board member who 
had been an invaluable asset. State legislators will have to select a 
replacement for Rhoad, whose term expires in 2007, he said.

Rhoad also has been a part-time assistant county attorney for the 
Charleston County Planning Commission since 1991, said county spokeswoman 
Jamie Thomas. She declined to comment on whether the arrest would affect 
his work with the county.

Rhoad worked as town attorney for Kiawah Island from 1988 until December 
2002, when he stepped down, said Allison B. Harvey, Kiawah town 
administrator. He still works on several projects for the town, she said.

He also represented a family that won a $19 million negligence verdict 
against the U.S. Coast Guard in 2001 in connection with the shipwreck of 
the Morning Dew. Four died when a 34-foot sailboat crashed into 
Charleston's jetties in late 1997.

Rhoad, who earned his law degree from the University of South Carolina 
School of Law in 1988, was not in his Broad Street office Tuesday, and no 
one answered the door at his Charlotte Street home. Calls to his home and 
office were not returned.

According to a police report, a public safety officer saw a group of people 
leaning over a pool table at 107 Wentworth St. with "tubular objects" in 
their noses. The officer was making routine checks of vacant homes and saw 
the group through an open window while standing on a nearby porch, police said.

The officer looked closer and saw a white powder substance on top of a 
framed picture laying on the pool table. He saw the suspects cutting up 
lines of the powder and inhaling it through rolled $5 and $20 bills, a 
police report stated.

Worried that the evidence would be destroyed, officers went in through an 
open and ajar front door, arrested Rhoad and the others and seized 0.1 
grams of the powder, which tested positive for cocaine, police said.

Also charged with cocaine possession are James Peter Robinson, 35, of 
Charleston; Bryan Heath Brown, 24, of Longs; Jennifer Maja Harmon, 24, of 
Charleston; Bradley Andrew Patterson, 21, of Asheville, N.C.; and Michael 
Peter Dever, 22, of Charleston. Baldwin set bail for each at $5,000.
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