Ex-Chester officer free on bond for alleged child neglect

Audrey Schurig
Audrey Schurig

Audrey Schurig, the former Chester police sergeant accused of child neglect from the brain and neck injuries sustained by her infant son last month, is free on bond pending trial after a week in jail.

However, the father of the child, Robert Jeffrey Taylor, a former police officer in York, Rock Hill, and Lancaster, remains jailed without bond at the York County Detention Center and it remains unclear when he will ask for a bond hearing on allegations of not just neglect, but claims by state agents that Taylor abused the child so severely that a month later the baby remains hospitalized. Taylor could face 30 years in prison if convicted.

Taylor faces the more serious charges including child abuse inflicting great bodily injury. Schurig’s lawyer maintains that she is not accused of any physical act against her son.

“The allegations contained in the warrant against Audrey Schuring do not contain any allegation that she committed any act of abuse,” said Schurig’s lawyer, Gary Lemel of Rock Hill.

Child neglect carries up to 10 years in prison.

The couple, who lived together in a Rock Hill apartment before their arrests, is not married, said Lemel.

Taylor, with two other children from a previous marriage, was divorced in February 2014, court records show.

Both Taylor and Schurig were arrested March 6 in Charlotte at Levine Childrens Hospital, where the couple’s son was taken by helicopter after first being seen in mid-February at Rock Hill’s Piedmont Medical Center.

State Law Enforcement Division agents handled the investigation because Taylor, who quit his job in York last week before his arrest, was a longtime Rock Hill police sergeant.

Both had to be extradited because of the arrests in Charlotte.

A North Carolina prosecutor said Thursday in court – when Schurig was released on bond from there before turning herself in at the York jail – that Taylor, the father of the child, allegedly hit the baby.

Late Thursday, Schurig posted $2,000 – 10 percent of a $20,000 bond – and was released from the York County jail.

Generally, defendants out on bond are not allowed to leave South Carolina. Schurig’s lawyer, Lemel, said that bond conditions allow Schurig visitation with her infant son at the Charlote hospital under supervision from the S.C. Department of Social Services. DSS is conducting its own investigations of the alleged abuse and neglect. The next DSS hearing in the case is set for April 6.

There is no restriction in Schurig’s release preventing her from contacting Taylor, although York County jail regulations do not allow co-defendants in criminal cases to have contact in the jail.

Schurig resigned from the Chester Police Department after her arrest.

There are no criminal court dates set for either Schurig or Taylor now that both are finished with extradition. Taylor could ask for a bond hearing as early as Monday.

The arrest of both officers has pushed police and prosecutors in York, Chester and Lancaster counties to examine all the pending cases each officer had a hand in to see whether the cases can be prosecuted or will have to be dismissed because both officers now face felony charges.

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065