Bowen Turner, SC man accused of multiple rapes, charged with DUI

Bowen Turner, the South Carolina man accused of sexually assaulting at least two teenage girls and of repeated parole and probation violations, was charged with DUI Saturday less than four months after his release from prison.

Turner, 21, served 16 months of a four-year sentence handed down after he violated his probation following a plea deal in one of his sexual assault cases. He was arrested Saturday evening by the South Carolina Highway Patrol and charged with driving under the influence, resisting arrest, public disorderly conduct, having an open container of beer or wine in a motor vehicle, and failure to wear a seat belt, according to records obtained from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.

He was detained at the Florence County Detention Center and received four separate surety bonds on his charges, amounting to $2,512.50.

Since 2019, Turner’s arrests, plea deals and subsequent parole and probation violations have been held up by advocates as proof of a system that favors defendants over victims. Turner’s connections and pathway through the justice system have also drawn scrutiny. His father was at one point an investigator with the 1st Circuit Solicitor’s Office, and Turner was represented by state Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, who now serves as Senate minority leader.

Turner was released from the state Department of Corrections last September after serving 16 months of a youthful offender sentence. After being charged with 1st degree criminal sexual conduct, Turner accepted a deal in April 2022 that let him instead plead guilty to assault and battery. He was sentenced to five years probation under the state’s Youthful Offender Act.

A month later, Turner violated his probation when he was charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol and threatening the life of a public official. He pleaded guilty to the two new charges and was sentenced to four years in prison as a youthful offender for the assault.

“If Bowen Turner had been effectively prosecuted and sentenced appropriately, he would not be out driving on SC’s roads, putting lives at risk. We must do better in SC courtrooms to protect our citizens from repeat offenders,” wrote Sarah Ford, the legal director for the South Carolina Victim’s Assistance Network, on X, formerly known as Twitter. Ford has represented several of Turner’s victims.

In October 2021, Turner allegedly assaulted Orangeburg high school student Dallas Stoller at a party in Bamberg. Turner was charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct in January 2019. That June, Turner was charged again with first degree criminal sexual conduct following an assault on Chloe Bess.

Turner’s case languished for nearly three years. Despite a judge’s order that he wear an ankle monitor and remain under house arrest, a motion filed by the South Carolina Victim’s Assistance Network said that Turner “escaped” house arrest roughly 50 times to visit golf courses, sporting goods shops, a car dealership and a Columbia steakhouse.

On Nov. 14, 2021, Dallas Stoller died by suicide, leading the 2nd Circuit solicitor to drop Turner’s charge in her case. In April 2022 Turner pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of first degree assault and battery for the attack on Bess. While it is not the practice of The State to name victims of sexual assault, Bess has become a prominent advocate for victims and has called for lawmakers to better defend victims of sexual and violent crimes.

Turner was sentenced to five years probation for Bess’ assault in April 2022. He promptly violated the conditions of probation that in May. Reports at the time said that after Turner was arrested for underage drinking, he threatened to bite off the finger of an Orangeburg County deputy who told him that the jail’s COVID policy required that Turner wear a mask.

Turner was released from prison following a scheduled review of his sentence by the Intensive Supervision Administrative Review Authority, which oversees the release of inmates sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act.

Turner is registered as a sex offender with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

His bond hearing for the charges in Florence County is scheduled for March 26.