Catawba County Child Pornography Investigation Leads To Two Arrests In South Africa

NORTH CAROLINA — Police in Pretoria, South Africa have arrested the parents of a 14-year-old girl after multiple sex crimes were discovered by the SBI during a child pornography investigation.

The State Bureau of Investigation says they were initially tipped off by North Charleston Police about a North Carolina man who was reportedly soliciting someone online to have sex with his 6-year-old niece. Investigators say they were led to a Catawba County man who was found to be paying for and receiving child pornography from someone in South Africa.

With help from Homeland Security Investigations, agents say they were able to locate an address in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. On Tuesday, officials with Homeland Security Investigations and South African Police located a 14-year-old girl they say was being abused and featured in sexually explicit pictures and videos. The child’s parents were arrested following an interview with the victim, according to reports, and later confessed to producing child pornography and the sexual assault of the child.

Officials placed the girl and her two younger brothers into protective custody, and charged the parents with multiple crimes related to the production of child porn, sexual assault, rape, and abuse of the child.

“When partners from local, state, federal and international agencies work together to combat crimes that cross jurisdictional lines, rescues like this one are possible,” Schurmeier said. “The SBI Computer Crimes Unit will continue to seek out and pursue prosecutions for anyone involved in child pornography, no matter where they live. Every child deserves to be protected from sexual abuse.”

“Defendants such as these trafficking in child pornography and illicit sex acts against minors, strip victims of their humanity; treating them as little more than pieces of meat to generate cash,” said HSI North Carolina Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher Healy. “The depravity of the subjects in this particular case reaches its lowest form, by forcing underage girls into this dark underworld of abuse and victimization; the public should breathe a sigh of relief that these dangerous criminals are now safely behind bars.”