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Midlands councilman gets 45 days for failing to pay child support

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Steve Cain at Monday's hearing. Steve Cain at Monday's hearing.

A Batesburg-Leesville town councilman will spend the next 45 days behind bars for failing to pay court-ordered child support. This is the second time Steve Cain's served time since April for violating orders to pay child support on two separate children.

Cain is currently $15,796.53 behind in payments. A family court judge ordered Cain to pay the mothers of his children $90 each week, plus an additional $10 to go toward Cain's arrearage. Cain has not made a child support payment since May for one of his children. That payment was $33.

Lexington County deputies arrested Cain at the McDonald's on West Columbia Avenue at around 1:30 p.m. Friday, according to sources there. Cain was booked into the Lexington County Detention Center where he spent the weekend awaiting his hearing Monday morning. Cain, dressed in an orange colored jumpsuit and shackled at the hands and wrists, told judge Robert Newton, "It's just been a bad; really a bad year for me."

Cain told the judge the reason he's been unable to make his child support payments was because he's been "chronically unemployed."

"Your honor, if you look at the record, when I was working I didn't miss a payment," Cain told the judge. The sitting councilman and Batesburg-Leesville mayoral candidate told the judge he's filed for bankruptcy and his home is currently under foreclosure.

Councilman Cain served several days in April after facing a 30 day sentence for failing to pay more than $15,000 in court-ordered child support payments, according to Family Court filings. The judge sentenced Cain to concurrent 30 day sentences for failing to pay support for his two children. On April 8, the judge told Cain at sentencing, if he could come up with $1,500 toward his support arrearage, he could get out of jail. Records show Cain paid $1,500 the next day and was released.

Court records show Cain made one $33 payment in May and had a $399 tax return intercepted and applied toward his child support obligation. Cain told the judge that he's been unable to find work but that he was starting classes at Midlands Technical College this week and would be starting a new job, as well.

"I know two things: one is within a day you paid—were able to pay the amount the court ordered (in April) and then it appears from the payment history, it was little effort whatsoever as I found the last time," judge Newton told Cain during the hearing Monday. "I found you have the ability to pay. I find you have the ability to seek employment and it appears to be developing a pattern of failure to pay until you find yourself in this situation," Newton said.

The judge reminded Cain that the only objective for the court was to ensure he complies with the court's order that he pay child support for his two children. The judge sentenced Cain to 45 days for each child for a total of 90 days, but allowed Cain to serve his sentence concurrently. Cain could pay $3200 toward his child support arrearage and be freed early.

"Good luck to you, Mr. Cain," Newton told the councilman as two Lexington County deputies escorted Cain out of the courtroom.

Family court has issued a total of 21 orders for Cain to show for court to explain why he's failed to make court-ordered child support payments since 2002.

According to court records filed in April, Cain owed one mother $7,023 and the other $8,457.

Cain had previously made headlines for his actions during a 2010 council meeting. He was escorted out of that meeting by the police after a disagreement with Mayor Jim Wiszowaty about the number of questions he was permitted to ask. As he was leaving that meeting, he accused Wiszowaty of using cocaine. The two had been engaged in a longstanding dispute over a city water contract. Wiszowaty later sued Cain over the drug allegations, but Wiszowaty later dropped his lawsuit, telling WIS he did so "out of the goodness of my heart."

Cain challenged Wiszowaty in the town's 2009 mayoral election, but lost. Cain is currently involved in a rematch with Wiszowaty for the mayor's seat.

Cain remained jailed in the county detention center as of this report.

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