South Carolina: Jonathan David Neel Arrested on Child Sexual Abuse

Fairfield County Man Arrested on Child Sexual Abuse Material* and Related Charges in Multistate Cooperative Investigation

COLUMBIA, SC (STL.News) South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the arrest of Jonathan David Neel, 23, of Fairfield, SC, on 19 charges connected to the exploitation of minors.  Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force investigators with the Attorney General’s Office made the arrest.  Investigators with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), both also members of the state’s ICAC Task Force, as well as the Fairfax (VA) County Police Department, Tuscaloosa (AL) Police Department, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) also assisted in this multistate cooperative investigation.

Investigators received a CyberTipline report from NCMEC which led them to Neel.  Investigators state Neel solicited a minor for sex, encouraged them to produce child sexual abuse material, distributed child sexual abuse material, possessed child sexual abuse material, and distributed nude images to a minor.

Neel was arrested on August 5, 2021.  He is charged with four counts of criminal solicitation of a minor (§16-3-342), a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment on each count;  three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, first degree (§16-15-395), a felony offense punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment on each count;  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;  eight 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;  and one count of disseminating obscene material to a person under age eighteen (§16-15-345), a felony offense punishable by up to ten years imprisonment.

The case 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.