Operation Playground: 8 arrested for their involvement in juvenile sex crimes; warrants issued for 17 others

Local News

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – The Mount Pleasant Police Department announced the arrest of eight individuals for their involvement in juvenile sex crimes.

The department on Tuesday held a press conference with local, state and federal agencies to announce details of “Operation Playground,” a joint initiative with the Internet Crime Against Children Task Force Program.

During the press conference, Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie said that agencies last week conducted a four day operation which targeted individuals who actively sought to engage juveniles under the age of consent in sexually explicit or suggestive online communication with the intent to arrange a meeting for the purpose of sex.

“The investigation also sought to identify those subjects who possess, transmit, shared or create child pornography and those who solicit juveniles as prostitutes, promote the prostitution of juveniles and any other participating in the sexual exploitation of children in Mount Pleasant,” said Chief Ritchie.

Chief Ritchie says the suspects traveled to Mount Pleasant to prey on children, some of the individuals traveled from as far as two hours away. “These folks did not live in the town itself, they were targeting our children and they were targeting the ones who live here,” says Chief Ritchie.

Chief Ritchie says parents should be proactive, having conversations with their children and reviewing their children’s internet history to prevent them from falling victim.

“But know what your child is doing, know what websites they are on and who they are talking to, especially if they are going to be going out somewhere and who they are going to meet,” says Chief Ritchie.

He said the operation resulted in the arrest of eight individuals including:

  • George Thomas, 39, charged with criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, attempted dissemination of obscene material to a minor under 18.
  • Robert Nazzaro, 54, charged with criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, attempted dissemination of obscene material to a minor under 18.
  • Matthew Johnson, 30, charged with criminal solicitation of a minor and attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
  • Donnell Diaz, 27, charged with criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, attempted dissemination of obscene material to a minor under 18.
  • Keith Hernkind, 38, charged with criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, attempted dissemination of obscene material to a minor under 12.
  • Atticus Mills, 20, charged with criminal solicitation of a minor and attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
  • Therance Jamison, 56, charged with criminal solicitation of a minor and attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
  • Jacob Ouellette, 24, charged with criminal solicitation of a minor and attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

In addition to the eight that have already been arrested, detectives are working to complete their investigation where 17 additional offenders will have warrants for their arrest totally 25 offenders.

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