12 men arrested for internet crimes against children committed in the Lowcountry

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) – Federal and local agencies have arrested more than ten men since August for internet crimes against children in the Mount Pleasant area.

The varying charges include traveling to the area to solicit sex from a minor, attempted and sexual exploitation of a minor and sharing explicit content with minors.

Fifteen agencies in total worked the operation, and Mount Pleasant served as a home base for detectives and officers to secure evidence and arrest and charge the suspects. Each charge could carry a prison sentence and addition to a national sex offender database.

Those charged will be prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office and its specific Internet Crimes Against Children department.

Kenneth Clark is a Mount Pleasant Police Department officer who worked long hours investigating the operation.

“For us it means a lot. Our goal is to save children and I think you can tell from our hard work that we do save a lot of children. I know myself as a parent, my daughter’s older now, but when I started this way back when she was a young teenager, and it means a lot to make sure that other kids stay safe by the work we do,” Clark said.

Kevin Atkins, Commander of South Carolina Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, says it was a huge collaboration. He goes on to say parents can also help by monitoring their kids’ devices and teaching them safe online practices, like not accepting follow, friend requests or messages from strangers.

“It’s labor intensive, it takes a lot of time to generate one case. You can put 20 hours into one of these cases and it doesn’t materialize. A lot of it depends on what the bad guy does. They can go on for weeks. It’s whatever it takes. I mean a lot of this – we’re planning this years in advance… for an actual chat type investigation, it can take 30 minutes, or it can take six months,” Atkins said.

The following four men are facing various charges after they traveled to the Mount Pleasant area to commit the crimes.

The following four men were identified as traveling to the Mt.  Pleasant area to commit crimes.
The following four men were identified as traveling to the Mt. Pleasant area to commit crimes.(Live 5)

Carlos Nolasco faces charges of attempted criminal solicitation of a minor second degree and criminal solicitation of a minor.

Jason Thigpen faces charges of attempted criminal solicitation of a minor second degree, attempted criminal solicitation of a minor first degree and criminal solicitation of a minor.

Derrick Ewang faces charges of attempted criminal solicitation of a minor second degree and criminal solicitation of a minor.

Robert Jones faces charges of attempted criminal solicitation of a minor second degree, attempted criminal solicitation of a minor first degree and criminal solicitation of a minor.

The following men were arrested following the operation that identified the traveler.

The following men were arrested following the operation that identified the traveler.
The following men were arrested following the operation that identified the traveler.(Live 5)

Sean Garner faces charges of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor first degree, attempted dissemination of obscene material to a person less than 18 years of age and criminal solicitation of a minor.

David Morgan faces charges of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor first degree and criminal solicitation of a minor.

Ernest Cumbee faces two charges of attempted dissemination of obscene material to a person less than 18 years of age.

Peter McElhattan faces a charge of criminal solicitation of a minor.

Robert Kirsch faces two charges of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor first degree.

Jesse Haney faces charges of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor first degree, attempted dissemination of obscene material to a person less than 18 years of age and four counts of criminal solicitation of a minor.

James Hook faces charges of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor first degree (2), attempted dissemination of obscene material to a person less than 18 years of age and criminal solicitation of a minor (2).

Edward Bryan faces charges of criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted dissemination of obscene material to a person less than 18 years of age.

Officials say there were multiple agencies involved, including the Beaufort Police Department, Charleston City Police Department, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, Georgetown County Sherriff’s Office, Goose Creek Police Department, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Sheriff’s. Office, Mount Pleasant Police Department, South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, South Carolina Department of Corrections Office of Inspector General, US Marshalls, US Secret Service, and York County Sheriff’s Office.

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