Bond set for Lyman couple in abuse case

Date: 2006-08-12

Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC)
Author: MONICA MERCER and RACHEL E. LEONARD

A Circuit Court judge has set bond at $75,000 each for a Lyman couple accused of starving three boys.

Scott and Molly McCurry have been held at the Spartanburg County Detention Center without bond since their arrest July 13 on three counts each of child abuse inflicting great bodily injury. On Friday, Circuit Judge Mark Hayes set bond after hearing arguments from attorneys who said the McCurrys are not a flight risk, have no criminal history and pose no danger to the children, who are in custody of the S.C. Department of Social Services.

Hayes ordered that, if released, the McCurrys are prohibited from seeing the boys, ages 5, 7, and 8. Nor can they visit with their biological daughter, age 10, who was found in good health but also taken from the home.

Scott McCurry's attorney, Doug Brannon, said Friday afternoon that the judge's duty was not to determine guilt or innocence, but to balance a defendant's rights with the safety of the public.

"I think he (Scott McCurry) was entitled to a bond," Brannon said. "Whether he can't make the bond yet, I don't know."

Clay Allen, attorney for Molly McCurry, said he was pleased with the decision.

"I'm glad he set bond," he said. "I don't know whether my client can make bond -- I'll have to talk to her."

Molly McCurry's, father, Leslie Moody, said he feared for his daughter's safety, should she be released.

"I am not going to bail her out," he said. "She's better off where she is."

In court Friday, Assistant Solicitor Susan Reese asked the judge to deny bond and reiterated that the boys, who are Molly McCurry's biological nephews, were severely malnourished.

Solicitor's Office spokesman Murray Glenn said Friday afternoon that prosecutors respected the judge's decision.

"We're moving forward with the case and look forward to seeing it progress through the criminal justice system," he said.

Prosecutors have said the boys were found severely malnourished and had been tied to bedposts to keep them away from food. The children had lived with Scott McCurry, 30, and Molly McCurry, 29, for about three years.

When found by officers, the 5-year-old boy weighed less than 20 pounds. The older boys each weighed less than 40 pounds.

Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office investigator Kevin Bobo said the boys each gained five pounds after spending five days in the hospital.

Bond hearing

During the Friday hearing, Brannon stressed that Scott McCurry has been married for 11 years, worked at Johnson Electric for almost 13 years and lived in Spartanburg County his entire life.

While the three boys were in McCurry's care, Brannon said, their school attendance was stellar.

"They went from failing students to honor roll students," he said.

Molly McCurry worked before becoming a stay-at-home mother and has close relatives nearby, Allen said.

Scott McCurry admitted to tying the boys to bedposts, DSS officials said at a prior hearing, but Brannon said otherwise on Friday. "These children were not restrained," he said. "Evidence will be presented."

Bobo dismissed that statement after the hearing.

"Evidence will show that they were restrained," he said. "No ifs, ands or buts."

If released on bond, the McCurrys will not return to their former home on Lamb Road. The mobile home has been repossessed, according to a default judgment order filed July 20, after the family failed to continue payments in 2005.

Investigators hope the boys, who are still in DSS custody, will be placed in foster care together. Family Court documents show Scott McCurry's mother, Elaine Cope, and Molly McCurry's sister, Holly Johnson, are seeking custody of the McCurrys' daughter.

A room for the girl has already been decorated at Johnson's mobile home in Wellford. Photographs in the court file show a bed with purple comforter, heart-shaped pillows, stuffed animals and a television.

Rachel E. Leonard can be reached at 562-7230, or rachel.leonard@shj.com.

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