COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A man was in an argument with his daughter in the parking lot of the Newberry County jail Sunday night - holding a blood-soaked towel to his ear - when a police officer asked him what happened.
"I molested my grandchildren," the 54-year-old man said.
"What?" the officer, Jason Stuher, asked.
"I've been molesting my grandchildren," the man repeated.
Stuher told the man to sit on the ground until he could figure out what to do. Nearby, one of the man's daughters was "hysterical and barely understandable," according to Stuher's report filed with the Newberry Police Department.
The man's daughter told Stuher that her father had been molesting her daughter and her sister's daughter. Sunday night, the man's adult children confronted their father about the abuse, and he admitted it.
That's when the man's children started "whoopin' up on him," according
to Newberry Police Chief Jackie Swindler.
The man escaped his children's fury on foot but was picked up by one of his daughters, who drove him to the Newberry County jail.
But the man's beating was the least of his worries. The stress from the situation was too much for his heart - which already has two stents - and he went into cardiac arrest
, according to Newberry County Sheriff's spokesman Maj. Todd Johnson.
Now the man is in a Columbia hospital recovering. Newberry County detectives are waiting for him to be released so they can charge him with molesting three of his grandchildren, each under the age of 10, and one additional child in the family
Investigators say the man will face charges of criminal sexual conduct with a minor and committing a lewd act on a child - charges that carry a combined maximum of 40 years in prison. But the man's children have not been charged with assault for beating their father
Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said he is evaluating the case and will confer with 8th Circuit Solicitor Jerry Peace before deciding what, if any, charges to file.
"They gave street justice - certainly nothing in the law allows that," Foster said. "As a parent, I can certainly understand somebody being upset. But as a law enforcement professional, they need to let law enforcement take care of the problem."
The man molested three of his grandchildren while he was baby-sitting
, Johnson said. Investigators do not think the man molested anyone outside of his family. The man's children are cooperating with investigators, Foster said, but "they don't have much to say about the beat down."
A person who answered the phone at the man's Newberry home said family members declined to comment.