(A) In a general sessions court proceeding or a delinquency proceeding in family court, an out-of-court statement of a child is admissible if:

(1) the statement was given in response to questioning conducted during an investigative interview of the child;

Terms Used In South Carolina Code 17-23-175

  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
  • Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.

(2) an audio and visual recording of the statement is preserved on film, videotape, or other electronic means, except as provided in subsection (F);

(3) the child testifies at the proceeding and is subject to cross- examination on the elements of the offense and the making of the out-of-court statement; and

(4) the court finds, in a hearing conducted outside the presence of the jury, that the totality of the circumstances surrounding the making of the statement provides particularized guarantees of trustworthiness.

(B) In determining whether a statement possesses particularized guarantees of trustworthiness, the court may consider, but is not limited to, the following factors:

(1) whether the statement was elicited by leading questions;

(2) whether the interviewer has been trained in conducting investigative interviews of children;

(3) whether the statement represents a detailed account of the alleged offense;

(4) whether the statement has internal coherence; and

(5) sworn testimony of any participant which may be determined as necessary by the court.

(C) For purposes of this section, a child is:

(1) a person who is under the age of twelve years at the time of the making of the statement or who functions cognitively, adaptively, or developmentally under the age of twelve at the time of making the statement; and

(2) a person who is the alleged victim of, or witness to, a criminal act for which the defendant, upon conviction, would be required to register pursuant to the provisions of Article 7, Chapter 3, Title 23.

(D) For purposes of this section an investigative interview is the questioning of a child by a law enforcement officer, a Department of Social Services case worker, or other professional interviewing the child on behalf of one of these agencies, or in response to a suspected case of child abuse.

(E)(1) The contents of a statement offered pursuant to this section are subject to discovery pursuant to Rule 5 of the South Carolina Rules of Criminal Procedure.

(2) If the child is twelve years of age or older, an adverse party may challenge the finding that the child functions cognitively, adaptively, or developmentally under the age of twelve.

(F) Out-of-court statements made by a child in response to questioning during an investigative interview that is visually and auditorily recorded will always be given preference. If, however, an electronically unrecorded statement is made to a professional in his professional capacity by a child victim or witness regarding an act of sexual assault or physical abuse, the court may consider the statement in a hearing outside the presence of the jury to determine:

(1) the necessary visual and audio recording equipment was unavailable;

(2) the circumstances surrounding the making of the statement;

(3) the relationship of the professional and the child; and

(4) if the statement possesses particularized guarantees of trustworthiness.

After considering these factors and additional factors the court deems important, the court will make a determination as to whether the statement is admissible pursuant to the provisions of this section.