South Carolina

SC school official charged in 8-state child exploitation bust. 5 more in SC charged

Meet Ruger, the ‘game-changer’ dog in fight against child predators

Meet Ruger, the newest member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Ruger can detect the chemical smell of small electronics that humans cannot, which is a ‘game-changer’ in the fight to stop child exploitation and child pornography.
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Meet Ruger, the newest member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Ruger can detect the chemical smell of small electronics that humans cannot, which is a ‘game-changer’ in the fight to stop child exploitation and child pornography.

An eight-state sting to bust people possessing and distributing child pornography and stop other crimes against children ended with the arrest of 82 people, including six people in South Carolina, and 17 children rescued or identified as victims, according to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

“Operation Southern Impact III” coordinated the efforts of 10 internet crimes against children task forces in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Federal authorities were also involved.

Seven of the people arrested during the sweep traveled to meet and have sex with a minor, according to a news release.

“The arrestees ranged in age from 20 to 70,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement. “Some of their occupations included non-profit employee, small business owner, store clerk, mechanic, daycare administrator, youth group leader, former high school band director, freelance photographer, construction worker and painter.”

Jeffrey Alan Scofield, a Catholic school employee, was one of the six people arrested in South Carolina.

Police charged Scofield with two counts of voyeurism after they said they found images of two male students changing clothes in a locker room on his phone.

A voyeurism charge, on the first offense, is a misdemeanor punishable with three years imprisonment.

Scofield worked as the sports information director at Bishop England High School in Charleston, the Post and Courier reported

The Post and Courier said Scofield told detectives he recorded the students in February by placing his phone between the blinds of his office window, which looked into the boy’s locker room, according to an affidavit. A detective noted in the affidavit that Scofield said he “liked younger guys,” referencing 15-year-olds.

Scofield was held at the Berkeley County Detention Center on Thursday. A judge released him on $100,000 personal recognizance bond, court records show, meaning he didn’t have to pay anything to get out of jail but will have to pay if he fails to show up to scheduled judicial hearings.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston operates Bishop England High School.

Authorities arrested five others in South Carolina as part of the child exploitation bust. They are:

  • Robert Hayes (age 23) Columbia, SC
    • 16 counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • James Everette Nesbitt (age 42) Florence, SC
    • 10 counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • Nathaniel Blake Arguedas (age 20) Clover, SC
    • 2 counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • Antwon Nasir McCoy (age 23) Myrtle Beach, SC
    • 15 counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • Tyler Eugene Canterbury (age 24) Hot Springs, VA
    • 1 count of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor

Additional charges may be filed against the six, the attorney general’s office said.

“Our [internet crimes against children] Task Force members will continue their unwavering search to find those who seek to exploit and harm our children,” Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement. “We will continue to work together as a team to locate, investigate and prosecute child predators.”

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.
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