Folks are still scratching their heads over what happened at 26 Broughton Road on the night of July 15.
That was the night state Rep. Wallace Scarborough stepped out the back door of his parents’ house in the West Ashley suburb of The Crescent and confronted two South Carolina Electric & Gas workers, who were checking power lines after a storm.
In the ensuing exchange, the Republican lawmaker ordered the linemen off the property and fired a shot from his 9 mm Glock pistol.
Most people confronted with strangers bumping around in their backyard at 9:30 p.m. would probably call the police, but Scarborough took matters into his own hands. Now there is a possible explanation for his bizarre behavior. Was he sharing the house that night — not with his parents — but with his clandestine paramour and fellow Republican legislator, Catherine Crawford Ceips, Beaufort County District 124?
There is ample evidence that Scarborough and Ceips have long been engaged in an extramarital affair. This evidence is found in a series of seven sworn affidavits filed last month in Ninth Circuit Family Court by friends, family, and a private investigator on behalf of Mary Ann Middleton Scarborough, the estranged wife of the James Island District 115 representative.
According to a deposition by David C. Leaird, Jr., of Surveillance Technologies, “…during the period of surveillance, it was indisputably established that Mr. Scarborough was romantically involved with a woman, identified as Catherine C. Ceips of 1207 Bay Street, Beaufort, South Carolina.”
Leaird described how, on the night of August 26, 2005, Scarborough and Ceips spent the night at her Bay Street home. “Mr. Scarborough’s automobile remained at Mrs. Ceips’ home all night.”
At 7:30 the following morning, the two left Ceips’ house, Scarborough driving his car with S.C. Legislator plate 84 and Ceips driving her car with S.C. Legislator plate 96. After their departure, the investigator duly placed a call to the Ceips home, but no one answered the phone, he reported.
At 8:41 a.m., Scarborough and Ceips arrived at Scarborough’s place of business, Atlantic Coast Life Insurance Co., 1565 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. Ten minutes later, they emerged from the building and got into Ceips’s car, with Scarborough at the wheel. At 9:03, the two entered Charleston Place on Meeting Street, the affidavit stated. The affidavit was accompanied by photocopies of grainy black and white photographs, showing the legislators and their cars on the morning in question.
Another affidavit took the form of a transcript of a telephone message left at Scarborough’s family home. The caller informed “Wallace and Catherine” that their reservation at the Orchard Inn, in Saluda, N.C., had been cancelled due to an ice storm. The caller explained that he was leaving the message at Scarborough’s home because he had failed to reach him at his office.
Another affidavit claimed that Scarborough and Ceips were seen “flirting” together at a private Spoleto party in Charleston in early June 2006.
In another affidavit a witness testified: “Wallace lives in my neighborhood [The Crescent] and I myself witnessed him one morning during the past winter telling a female who fits the description of Catherine Ceips ‘goodbye’ and putting her and her bags into a small dark car which looked like a Mercedes. He avoided my eye and did not say hello which is very unusual for him.”
Other affidavits at the courthouse describe Scarborough indiscreetly pursuing other women. One described a scene some 15 years ago, when Wallace and Mary Ann Scarborough invited another married couple on the family boat for an afternoon of sailing. The other couple seemed unhappy and uncommunicative throughout the afternoon, according to the affidavit by a family member. A few weeks later, the family member saw Wallace Scarborough and the woman at church, having “an animated conversation in a pew off to one side of the sanctuary.” That scene played out again two weeks later, when another family member saw the two together at church. When Scarborough saw that family member observing him, he “immediately left the church by another door.”
Another affidavit alleges that a woman who worked for Scarborough approached him to say that he was paying too much attention to a secretary and the office staff was beginning to talk about the relationship. The woman later went to work for another family member and told her story.
Several of the affidavits describe the slow collapse of the Scarborough marriage and the devastating effect on Mary Ann Scarborough. They describe her losing weight and keeping to herself, which was out of character. The affidavits paint a picture of Scarborough as an angry and violent man. He is described as emotionally distant from his two children, one of whom has a learning disability and requires special education. Mary Ann Scarborough has had to juggle her career as a perfusionist at Roper Hospital Heart & Vascular Center with the needs of her sons. According to the affidavit of one woman who knows the couple well, Scarborough has spent only four days with his sons since he moved out of the house in July 2005.
One of her supervisors testified: “It is my impression that Wallace has had very little involvement with the day-to-day care and upbringing of their two sons and that Mary Ann has had little, if any, support and assistance from Wallace or his family when it comes to caring for the boys … her evaluations suffered because she was suffering from ‘task overloading’ and carrying the full burden of raising and caring for a family without the day-to-day involvement and support of her husband. It has been my impression that Mary Ann has dedicated herself to carrying the burden of a fulltime career and raising a family so that her husband could keep his position in the legislature.”
According to another affidavit: “For the past several years, since her husband, Wallace Scarborough, sought a House seat in the SC Legislature, I have watched Mary Ann’s struggles become more intense. She fully supported her husband’s aspirations and has managed a very difficult schedule while he has been in session (in Columbia) in the past three or four years. When Wallace first became a candidate, I remember thinking his timing was a bit ‘selfish’ with one son at home in the middle of some real challenges and another younger son to care for, but Mary Ann seemed committed to his success and his ‘happiness’ so I supported her as best I could….
“For several months last year I watched Mary Ann slowly change (her disposition, her weight, her enthusiasm for life) and one day she finally broke down and shamefully admitted that Wallace had left her for another woman and that she had proof,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit claims Scarborough has contributed little to the emotional or logistical support of the family. “One time Wallace did not answer his phone or voice mail for several days in a row (once was late in the middle of the night), knowing full well the demands of Mary Ann’s call schedule. He was basically unavailable to his family … and had not notified anyone of his whereabouts … Wallace took care of himself and left the rest to Mary Ann.”
According to another affidavit, “It seemed like that anything Mary Ann did was not enough to satisfy him and he spent more and more time out of the house. Also in the past few years, Wallace has bought an airplane and a BMW convertible. He has changed so much since entering the state house [sic].”
After two attempts at counseling, Scarborough left his wife and sons in the family home and moved into his parents’ house, which is outside his legislative district.
Wallace Scarborough, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2000, did not return phone messages left at his home and office. Mary Ann Scarborough could not be located for comment.
Ceips, whose husband died on July 27, following a long illness, denied that she was romantically involved with Scarborough. Contacted at her home in Beaufort, she said, “I don’t know where you are coming from with that.”
Eugene Platt, Scarborough’s opponent in the November general election, said, “As a candidate, I have no comment. As a man of faith, Wallace and Mary Ann and their children are in my prayers.”