Upstate internet child abuse task force arrests 17 in sting operation


GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – The Greenville Co. Sheriff’s Office and other agencies announced the results of a months-long operation aimed to stop internet crimes against children.

Sheriff Will Lewis announced Monday that 17 people have been charged with sexual exploitation of minors.

“These are people who you encounter on a daily basis, who have such a sick and twisted mind, that they choose to victimize children,” Sheriff Lewis says.

While the sheriff’s office had a task force in place to investigate crimes against children, Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis increased resources soon after taking office.

A new team of five investigators has been working to clear a backlog of cases. Investigators like Master Deputy Michael Rainey have spent thousands of hours working on these investigations.

“We have to examine people’s computers and devices for images and photographs, and try to find the stuff nobody wants to see,”  Rainey says.

Sheriff Lewis expects about a third of the cases to go to federal court based on the number of downloads, the content of those pictures and videos, and if suspects are repeat offenders.