Former Charleston-area police officer accused of sex with boy gets $300,000 bail

Michael Paul Norton

A former Charleston-area police officer accused of pressuring a 14-year-old boy into a sexual encounter is back in Charleston County after being arrested in North Carolina.

Michael Paul Norton, 29, of Miles Road in Summerville left the Hanahan Police Department in October. He was previously a Goose Creek police officer.

He met a 14-year-old boy in March through a phone application called Grindr and talked him into a sexual encounter in a vacant lot on Oak Island Drive sometime in early April, according to the arrest affidavit from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. Norton was working as a truck driver at the time.

The boy’s mother reported the encounter after her son mentioned it. Investigators said they tracked the number on the boy’s cellphone to Norton. They said they found sexual images from Norton and messages from the boy telling Norton he was underage. The teen identified Norton from a photo lineup, according to the affidavit.

The Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant, and U.S. marshals took Norton into custody on June 11 in Thomasville, N.C., during his delivery route. He was returned to Charleston County on Wednesday from the Guilford County Detention Center, where he was being held on $700,000 bail.

He is charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, first-degree criminal exploitation of a minor, criminal solicitation of a minor and dissemination of obscene material to a person under age of 18. All are felonies and carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

Magistrate Priscilla Baldwin set his bail at $300,000 Thursday afternoon. Bail conditions include no contact with the teen, no use of the Internet, no unsupervised visits with minors and no leaving the state.

Norton was a Hanahan policeman from Jan. 23, 2012, to Oct. 15, 2014, according to the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy. He was terminated because of “dishonesty/untruthfulness with respect to his/her employer,” according to a notice of separation filed with the justice academy.

Norton was with Goose Creek Police Department from June 6, 2011, to Jan. 3, 2012. No complaints are noted during his time with Goose Creek.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.