Jenny Harless, a guest on the local Charleston podcast “The Scoop Squad” on July 6th, has made serious accusations against James “Tyke” Hunt, the Charleston Police Chief. The allegations begin with lewd behavior on city property, sending nude photos, and then retaliation.
During her interview with host Ashley Switzer and producer Ron Hughes, Harless revealed that her contact with Chief Hunt began with a brief conversation on the professional networking platform LinkedIn. This interaction eventually led to a sexual text messaging exchange with the Police Chief.
Harless has alleged the following sequence of events:
- March 1, 2022: Harless initiated a discussion on LinkedIn with Chief Hunt regarding a remodeling project she needed assistance with. She claims that Chief Hunt, who identified himself as a licensed contractor, engaged in the conversation.
- March 3, 2022: After exchanging flirtatious text messages, Chief Hunt invited Harless to visit him at the police station after hours. Harless alleges that during this visit, Chief Hunt first forcefully pulled her onto his lap, then removed all of his clothes with the exception of a tank top t-shirt. She refused his advances and requested that he put his clothes back on, to which he responded that he often walks around his office naked after hours. Harless further states that Chief Hunt lay on the floor in an exposed state and attempted to pull her towards him, but she resisted. Chief Hunt then mentioned making a call to Mayor Amy Goodwin and asked Harless to leave the room. Harless claims she left the police station at that point.
- April 23, 2022: Harless asserts that she and Chief Hunt continued their text messaging conversation after the initial encounter, but they did not meet in person again. According to Harless, the conversation escalated with more meeting requests, and Chief Hunt even sent her explicit photos. Harless says the exchange abruptly ceased, prompting her to contact Chief Hunt’s wife, Jessica, about the messages and initial meeting.
Harless describes her conversation with Jessica Hunt as starting off with the chief’s wife requesting proof, which Harless claims to have provided. She then states that her discussions with Jessica turned from friendly to defensive and eventually confrontational.
- April 25, 2022: Harless claims that Jessica Hunt told her to cease any further contact.
- April 27, 2022: While working from home, Harless states that she was visited by a West Virginia State Trooper and an FBI Agent who were investigating a harassment claim from the Hunts. Harless mentions that her Ring video doorbell captured the interaction, and the podcast host confirms having seen the footage. Harless further says that the FBI instructed her to stop any further contact with the Hunts.
- April 28, 2022: Harless states that, based on advice from a former deputy, she contacted the Charleston City Police to file a complaint against Jessica Hunt. She reports that initially, the Charleston Police Officer had to consult his supervisor for guidance on the complaint, but later he called Harless and directed her to the City of Charleston’s Human Resources Department.
- May 9, 2022: Harless had a one-hour meeting with the City of Charleston’s HR Director and city attorney. She claims that they informed her they would conduct an investigation but refused to accept any of the photos, text messages, or devices related to her claims.
- June 23, 2022: Harless says she was contacted by the city attorney, who informed her that the investigation was closed.
During the podcast, host Ashley Switzer (a former Charleston City Council Candidate) reveals that she became aware of these allegations around September 2022. Switzer states multiple times during the discussion that she has seen all the images and videos of Chief Hunt, confirming that he appears nude in the messages. Switzer also expresses her belief that Chief Hunt had lured Harless to the police station with the intention of engaging in sexual activity. She questions the effectiveness of the city’s investigation, the impact on the culture of the Charleston Police Department, and the standards to which a chief of police is held.
The outcome of the city’s investigation and whether any administrative leave or disciplinary actions were taken against Chief Hunt remain unclear. Chief Hunt assumed his role as police chief in February 2020 and continues to hold the position despite these allegations.