The Richland County Sheriff’s Department took a 34-year-old man into custody on July 12 after an undercover sting operation identified him as pursuing sex with teenagers. Authorities released the man from jail after charging him with two counts of solicitation of a minor. If convicted, a judge could sentence him to up to 10 years in prison for each count as well as a $5,000 fine.
The investigation that produced these allegations against him involved law enforcement agents posing as girls age 14 or younger online. They worked through social media and engaged people allegedly looking to have sex with teenagers. Agents lured the man to a meeting place where they said that he expected to meet a young girl for the purpose of sex.
Until his arrest, he had been a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America chapter known as the Indian Waters Council. This organization oversees scouting programs for eight counties. The head of the council said that the accused man has been prohibited from participation in scouting. Leaders of the troop reported that they met with parents of children who interacted with the volunteer. No evidence suggested that he had behaved criminally with any of the children.
A person accused of sex crimes can generally expect aggressive prosecution. The representation of a criminal defense attorney could help a defendant navigate the justice system. An attorney could take steps to protect the person’s rights and challenge evidence that appears to be weak. Inconsistent testimony or unreliable sources might undermine a case and enable an attorney to argue for a reduction or dismissal of charges.