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Six men arrested in Lexington County child pornography crackdown

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, along with Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon, announced the arrest of the following six individuals on charges connected to the sexual exploitation of minors.

Jacob Tyler Burks (22) of Swansea, S.C.

Rodney Black (49) of Lexington, S.C.

James Deese (62) of Lexington, S.C.

Sean Wilcox (21) of Lexington, S.C.

William Freeman (37) of Lexington, S.C.

Stephen Downs (66) of Lexington, S.C.

Jacob Tyler Burks was arrested on May 1, 2017.  He is charged with three 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.  Investigators received multiple CyberTipline reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which led them to Burks’s residence in Swansea. Burks distributed child pornography via social media on multiple occasions.

Rodney Black was arrested on May 1, 2017.  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.  Investigators received a CyberTipline report from the NCMEC which led them to Black’s residence in Lexington. Black distributed child pornography via the internet.

James Deese was arrested on May 3, 2017.  He is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, second degree (§16-15-405), a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.  Investigators received a CyberTipline report from the NCMEC which led them to Deese’s residence in Lexington. Deese distributed child pornography via social media.

Sean Wilcox was arrested on May 3, 2017.  He is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, second degree (§16-15-405), a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.  Investigators received a CyberTipline report from the NCMEC which led them to Wilcox’s residence in Lexington. Wilcox distributed child pornography via social media.

William Freeman was arrested on May 3, 2017.  He is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, first degree (§16-15-395), a felony offense punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.  Investigators received a CyberTipline report from the NCMEC which led them to Freeman’s residence in Lexington. Freeman used social media to encourage a minor victim to create child pornography.

Stephen Downs was arrested on May 4, 2017.  He is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, second degree (§16-15-405), a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.  Investigators received a CyberTipline report from the NCMEC which led them to Downs’s residence in Lexington. Downs distributed child pornography via social media.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Office is a member of South Carolina’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and led a coordinated multi-agency effort to serve multiple search warrants leading to these arrests. Investigators with the S.C. Attorney General’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assisted with these investigations and arrests.  All six 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.