FEB 05, 2024

Attorney General Alan Wilson announces Spartanburg man sentenced to 8 years for sexual exploitation of a minor and criminal solicitation of a minor

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – Attorney General Alan Wilson announces that on February 1, 2024, Thomas Earl Parker, Jr., pleaded guilty to one count of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, First Degree, and one count of Criminal Solicitation of a Minor, in Spartanburg County before the Honorable J. Mark Hayes.

This investigation originated as an undercover chat operation with law enforcement in Georgia that began in January 2021 and spanned over two months. In those chats, Parker began speaking to a person he believed to be 14 years old but was an undercover officer in Georgia. Parker began a sexually graphic conversation with the person he reasonably believed to be 14 years old. Parker sent images of himself and the 9-year-old victim. Georgia law enforcement learned that Parker lived in Greenville, S.C., and immediately contacted the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office for assistance in locating and identifying the victim. After further investigation, Investigator Bevill with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office discovered that Parker worked at a Spinx gas station located in Greenville County where he was sending the sexually explicit conversations; however, he no longer lived in Greenville County and now lived in Spartanburg County. It was discovered that the victim was also living in Spartanburg County and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office was contacted to assist in identifying and locating the victim. Investigator Turner from the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office was able to locate and identify the child from the images that Parker sent from his home in Spartanburg County. Upon Parker’s arrest, a seizure of his cell phone showed additional nude images of the victim that Parker had taken in the home in Spartanburg County.

Judge Hayes sentenced Parker to a total of eight years in prison. On the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, 1st Degree charge, he was sentenced to three years, which is consecutive with a five-year sentence for Criminal Solicitation of a Minor. He was also given credit for the time that he previously served. Parker will have to register as a sex offender upon his release and he consented to the forfeiture of his devices. He is to have no contact with the victim.

We thank Investigator Matthew Conway from the Gwinnett County Police Department in Georgia; Investigators Daniel Bevill and Michael Bryan from the Greenville County Sheriff's Office; Investigator Michael Turner from the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office; Courtney Spicer, Assistant District Attorney with the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office in Georgia; and everyone else from those agencies that assisted in this investigation.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Johnson prosecuted the case for the Attorney General’s Office.

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