Charleston businessman indicted in Massachusetts sex assault case
A Lowcountry businessman has been indicted in Massachusetts in connection with an alleged sex assault involving a 15-year-old girl on Nantucket Island over the summer, authorities said.
Benjamin M. Carter Jr., 31, of Charleston was indicted Monday on four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child over 14 and two counts of rape of a child with force, said Tara L. Miltimore, an assistant district attorney with the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office.
He will likely be arraigned on the charges in late January or early February in Nantucket Superior Court, Miltimore said.
David Aylor, Carter's attorney, said he could not discuss specifics about the case but stressed that his client strongly denies the allegations.
"He is looking forward to the case moving forward so he will be able to clear his name," Aylor said.
The Inquirer and Mirror newspaper of Nantucket reported that Carter knew the girl in question and that the incident allegedly occurred while she was vacationing on Nantucket in July. He pleaded not guilty to the allegations during an initial appearance in a lower court in October, the newspaper reported.
Miltimore would not divulge additional details about the case, and Nantucket police would not release a report from the incident when contacted by The Post and Courier.
In addition to the Massachusetts allegations, Carter has a pending case in Charleston from a June arrest on a charge of cocaine possession, court records show.
The cocaine charge stemmed from a 4:44 a.m. traffic stop on Amherst Street, an "intensely active" drug-dealing location on the city's East Side, according to an incident report. When police approached Carter and another man sitting in his Range Rover, Carter told officers he was talking with the passenger about producing him in a music video, a police report stated.
Police arrested the pair after officers found slightly less than a gram of cocaine on the driver's side of the vehicle, the police report stated.
Carter is a partner in a Steak 'n Shake restaurant on Tanger Outlet Boulevard in North Charleston, but he is not involved in the daily operations, Aylor said.
WMBF-TV in Myrtle Beach reported in 2012 that Carter, a former vice president of Ben Carter Properties in Atlanta, was owner and CEO of Carolina SNS, LLC, which also planned to open Steak 'n Shake restaurants in Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Eastern Georgia.
He is a 2005 graduate of the College of Charleston, where his father sits on the business school's governing board. The elder Carter, a shopping center developer, established the Carter Real Estate Center at the college in 2006 with a $1.5 million gift.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.