Local icon, public official arrested, charged with sex crime

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

News 12 at 6, July 7, 2007

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC-- A local icon and long time chairman of the North Augusta Planning Commission is facing charges for having oral sex with a child.

Police arrested 74-year-old Edward Fowler Meloan, also known as Count Justin Sane, on Thursday for a sex crime they say he committed more than 30 years ago.

Count Justin Sane quickly became one of the most recognizable faces in the area as the host of Shock Theater which aired in the late 60s and early 70s on channel 12.

But his most recent time in the spotlight is shocking for most who knew him.

For years people in the CSRA tuned into watch scary movies hosted by Count Justin Sane. He was known to fans as the man draped in the black cloak and the hood often seen popping out of a makeshift coffin to introduce the films every weekend to thousands of households in our area.

But, even scarier is what the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division says he was doing behind the scenes in his personal life.

"This is a heartbreaker. He was a huge star by my estimation not only for myself but for all the kids I went to school with in Augusta. We all loved Count Justin Sane." says longtime fan WGAC talkshow host Austin Rhodes.

Justin Sane today is 74-year-old Edward Meloan. He was arrested at his North Augusta home Thursday, charged after a month long SLED investigation.

In the arrest warrant, investigators say Meloan committed oral sex on a child under 16 years old back in 1976.

It was a crime that investigators say took place in his old home on North Augusta's Terrace Circle. Longtime former neighbors say he lived at the home with his family and ran a film development business out of the house.

Elda Casares lived next door to Meloan for nearly 40 years and is stunned by the allegations. "Shocking. I don't think that's true. Someone coming out to say after 30 years that that happened."

Meloan was released on a 20 thousand dollar bond Friday, the same day he resigned from his position as Chairman for the North Augusta Planning Commission.

News 12 went to his home Saturday for his side of the story, but we got no response.

But old fans of his show, and the films he played, had plenty to say. "Very sad story. I'm hoping justice will prevail in this case and that all the victims do come forward. I'm heartbroken for them as well. It's a very sad day." adds Rhodes.

North Augusta Department of Public Safety started the investigation into Meloan earlier this year but had recently turned the case over to SLED because of Meloan's position in the community.

His resignation as Chairman of North Augusta's Planning Commission was sent yesterday (Friday, July 6) addressed to Mayor Lark Jones.

SLED investigators told News 12 this case is an ongoing investigation
and they are encouraging other possible victims to come forward.
Tipsters can call or email SLED at (803) 642-2076 or sledinvestigation@sled.sc.gov.


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