JAN 27, 2023
(COLUMBIA, S.C.) - South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the arrest of Billy Ray Bennett, 46, of Lancaster, S.C., and Jordan Stephan Blackwell, 20, of Gaffney, S.C., on eight total charges connected to the sexual exploitation of minors. Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force investigators with the York County Sheriff's Office and Cherokee County Sheriff's Office made the arrests in these unrelated cases. Investigators with the Attorney General's Office, Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, and Department of Homeland Security, all also members of the state's ICAC Task Force, assisted with these investigations.
Investigators received a CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which led them to Blackwell. Investigators state Blackwell distributed child sexual abuse material and Bennett possessed files of child sexual abuse material.
Bennett was arrested on January 19, 2023. He is charged with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, third degree (§16-15-410), a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment on each count.
Blackwell was arrested on January 19, 2023. He is charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, second degree (§16-15-405), a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment on each count.
Both of these cases will be prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office.
Attorney General Wilson stressed all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.
* Child sexual abuse material, or CSAM, is a more accurate reflection of the material involved in these heinous and abusive crimes. "Pornography" can imply the child was a consenting participant. Globally, the term child pornography is being replaced by CSAM for this reason.
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