• Gaston Co. sheriff apologizes after viral Facebook post on Kavanaugh case

    By: Ken Lemon


    GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - The Senate will take a key vote Friday to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

    The Senators went into a secret room to review the FBI's investigation into allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford, that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school.

    It's a critical moment for Kavanaugh's confirmation and also for the fight to bring awareness to sexual assault.

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    Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger entered the debate with a controversial Facebook post.

    Cloninger said a meme he posted on his social media site was only up for about an hour before he received a complaint and took it down.

    However, someone took a screenshot of the meme, which has been shared 65 times.

    Cloninger is now apologizing for his post.

    The meme Cloninger reposted was a swipe at the contentious hearing for Kavanaugh.

    The meme is of two children. The boy's hand placed on the girl's rear with a caption, "Well Billy, there went your chance to be on the Supreme Court.”

    "Didn't mean to offend nobody, wasn't taking sides,” Cloninger said. "I wasn't commenting to make fun of anything. I was just sharing it, show other folks what other people are thinking about the situation."

    The post drew angry comments online and raised eyebrows.

    "I think a public official shouldn't post something irresponsible like that,” Gaston County resident Donna Allen said.

    Cloninger has been a long-time supporter of the Domestic Violence Shelter headed by his wife for decades.

    He recently posted a video for Domestic Violence Awareness and a couple reposted a rape survivor's story.

    "I would hope that it was just a lapse in judgment,” voter Karen Webster Turner said.

    Channel 9 asked the sheriff what would he say to assault survivors who may see the meme and worry about coming to the officer for help.

    He said, "I hope they know I work to protect anybody and everybody."

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