HILTON HEAD, S.C. (WSAV) — A Hilton Head Island high school teacher has been arrested and charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, Beaufort County deputies say.
According to The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office(BCSO), 34-year-old Jared Smith was arrested Tuesday, May 23. Smith is an orchestra teacher at Hilton Head Island High School, according to the District’s website. He has been with Beaufort County School District since 2013.
“We received a tip from a citizen late last week about Mr. Smith possibly possessing or viewing child pornography,” explained Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Major Angela Viens.
Deputies executed a search warrant Tuesday at Smith’s home on Hilton Head Island and collected evidence, including a phone and computer, for investigation.
“We developed enough probable cause to charge with sexual exploitation of a minor third degree,” explains Viens. “Which in South Carolina means you are possessing images or videos that display child pornography.”
“We don’t have any indication at this point, and I am clear at this point. That he is producing child pornography.”
BCSO’s Device Extraction Unit examined the phone seized from Smith’s home and found evidence of sexual exploitation of a minor. A warrant was obtained and Smith was arrested late Wednesday afternoon and remains incarcerated at the Beaufort County Detention Center.
The Beaufort County School System sent a letter out to parents Wednesday telling them Smith is “no longer employed” by the school.
Just as troubling, the letter goes on to say Smith also gave music lessons to kids from Hilton Head Elementary and the School for Creative Arts.
“At this point, the images we have viewed do not appear to be South Carolina or any of our students here locally,” said Viens.
Deputies say the investigation is ongoing and more charges could be forthcoming as they continue to investigate Smith’s computer for more illegal material.
Viens says the public can be key in cases like these.
“It may be something that makes your hair stand up. that you want to discuss further and holding that information may delay. So always reach out to law enforcement officer agency just to discuss it and it may open up an investigation just like this one,” said Viens.
To report these crimes, call the BCSO tip line at 843-255-3300 or CrimeStoppers at 843-554-1111 if you would like to remain anonymous.