SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The wife of an Upstate fire chief is facing child sex crime charges.
Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office deputies charged Teresa Millwood Blackwell Friday for third-degree criminal sexual misconduct with a minor between the age of 14 to 16 and second-degree criminal sexual misconduct under the age of 16.
According to arrest warrants, Blackwell performed intrusive sexual actions on the victim between the dates of April 22, 2020, and April 21, 2021.
The warrants stated Blackwell was in a familiar, custodial and/or authority position to coerce the victim.
She is currently being held in the Spartanburg County Detention Center under no bond.
It’s something that Shauna Galloway-Williams with the Julie Valentine Center said they see frequently in reports with minors.
“Anytime we have a case where an adult and a child, obviously that adult has more power and control in that relationship. Most times children are abused by someone they know, they love, and they trust and it may be someone who’s known, loved, and trusted in the community,” said Shauna Galloway-Williams, CEO of the Julie Valentine Center in Greenville.
Recent tax records showed that Teresa Blackwell is married to Spartanburg City Fire Chief Marion Blackwell.
Marion Blackwell has been chief since 2010.
7 NEWS reached out to the fire department for comment. As of Tuesday evening, we have not heard a response.
When it comes to reporting child sex crimes, the Julie Valentine Center said it’s important to listen first.
“The biggest warning sign is if a child makes a statement. If a child tells you that something that has happened to them or if they even hint that something might be happening related to child sexual abuse or physical abuse. Believe them,” said Galloway-Williams. “Listen rather than asking a lot of probing and detailed questions.”
She said the next step would be reporting the crime directly to law enforcement.
“Reports need to be made directly to law enforcement so that they can investigate these cases,” Galloway-Williams explained. “It’s really important that parents, caregivers, professionals not do their own investigation, that is for law enforcement and the department of social services.”
Then the healing process can begin.
“It’s never too late to reach out and get help,” said Galloway-Williams. “If a child tells you something, believe them and do something about it.”
If you or someone you know if a victim of sexual abuse, call the Julie Valentine Center hotline: (864) 467-3633. Someone is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.