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Columbia Man is Charged With the Sexual Exploitation of Minors


Sex crimes receive a considerable amount of negative attention and society has a disdain for sexual offenders, particularly when the victims are children.

The Internet has led to an explosion of crimes associated with child pornography and the downloading of images. Recently a Columbia man was arrested on six counts involving the sexual exploitation of minors, stated SC Attorney General Alan Wilson.

The State reported that 48-year-old Stephen Thomas Hammond was arrested and booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

The arrest was made by the Richland County Sheriff's Department which is a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

"A referral was received from investigators at the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office that images depicting children engaged in sexual activity has been disseminated from an account traced to Hammond's residence," stated Wilson's office.

Hammond was charged with six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

A task force to investigate the proliferation of child pornography was set up in South Carolina in the late 1990s.

In a statement on the website of the Attorney General, the reason given for its creation was the "increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with under-aged victims."

The Justice Appropriations Act, Public Law of 1998 created a national network of "State and local law enforcement cyber units to investigate child sexual exploitation."

A federal program assists state and local law enforcement agencies in developing an effective response to cyber-enticement as well as child pornography cases that encompass a wide range of forensic and investigative components, technical assistance and training, victim services, and community education.

South Carolina's Task Force is which operates from the office of the Attorney General works with law enforcement around the state, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and a number of other state and federal agencies. It provides training as well as enforcement.

If you are convicted of a sex crime you are likely to face a heavy penalty and serious stigma. These investigations are complex and involve cyber analysis. However, on occasions there can be errors in the way information is gathered. An experienced Columbia sex crimes lawyer can protect your rights. Call Masella Law at 803.748.9990.

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