Jail charleston county
City Paper file photo

A state court judge set a $150,000 bond for Jason Patno, Charleston County’s former emergency director, in a hearing Monday as he faces charges of kidnapping, first-degree burglary and first-degree assault and battery.

Patno has been held in Charleston County jail since being arrested June 24. By law, magistrate judges that normally set bond can not set bond for certain severe charges, including first-degree burglary. Patno’s attorney, Andy Savage, filed a motion for bond to be set July 2, and Monday’s virtual hearing was held before Circuit Court Judge Jennifer McCoy.

Patno’s employment with Charleston County ended July 2, a county spokesperson told the City Paper on Monday. A specific reason was not given.

Patno, seen in a 2019 hurricane prep video | Screenshot Charleston County video

In a May 19 law enforcement report detailing incidents from 2018 and 2019, a former romantic partner alleged Patno caused her physical harm and engaged in ongoing harassment via social media and unwanted visits to her home.

During Monday’s hearing, Patno’s accuser explained she was afraid to report the incidents until this year and said she feared for her life if he was released from jail.

After hearing from Savage and prosecutor Chad Simpson, who requested terms be added to Patno’s bond agreement, McCoy set a bond of $150,00 and required Patno wear a GPS monitoring device, stay at least two miles away from his former partner’s home and refrain from any contact with her or her family, surrender any firearms and enroll in anger management and substance abuse treatment with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Patno previously served in the Coast Guard and a VA representative said Patno would benefit from treatment if released, Savage told the court.

Victim advocates at My Sister’s House did not react to specific details in the case, but said even protective measures may not be a surefire way to ensure safety.

“Though we are disappointed by today’s bond ruling, we are heartened to see GPS monitoring and firearm access restrictions imposed, although these measures, unfortunately, cannot guarantee victim safety,” said Tosha Connors, CEO of My Sister’s House.

Connors said anyone who may need assistance should reach out to My Sister’s House: “Please don’t hesitate to call our crisis and intake line 24/7 at (800) 273-HOPE (4673).”

Patno was director of the county’s Emergency Management Department from 2007 until this month, according to a county spokesperson. He earned an annual salary of $114,212.80 as of August 2020, county records showed.

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