Former Hanahan police officer accused of sex with 14-year-old boy

Michael Paul Norton

A former Hanahan police officer has been arrested in North Carolina on a warrant accusing him of a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old boy.

Michael Paul Norton, 29, of Miles Road in Summerville is charged with second-degree sexual conduct with a minor, according to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.

Norton was with the Hanahan Police Department from Jan. 22, 2012, to Oct. 15, 2014, when he was fired for violation of department policy, Lt. Michael Fowler said. Fowler said he couldn’t be more specific about the termination. He added that Norton worked with the Charleston County Metro Narcotics unit from April 1, 2013, to June 22, 2014.

The S.C. Criminal Justice Academy could not immediately provide Norton’s service record.

According to the arrest affidavit, Norton met the boy sometime in March through a phone application called Grindr. Ads for the app bill it as a tool to “find gay, bi, curious guys for free near you.”

Sometime in early April, Norton drove the teen to a sexual encounter in a wooded lot on Oak Island Drive, which is off Folly Road, according to investigators. The boy said he told Norton he was 14 before the encounter.

Several weeks later, the boy told his mother about sexual encounters with a man named Matt that he thought was a 33-year-old truck driver. His mother looked at her son’s phone and sent a text message telling the man not to contact her son anymore. Then she contacted authorities.

Investigators said they tracked the number on the boy’s cellphone to Norton and found messages between him and the boy that included sexual images. The teen described Norton and identified him from a photo lineup, according to the affidavit.

The Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for Norton’s arrest Wednesday. Investigators learned that Norton was driving a tractor-trailer from Virginia to North Carolina and informed the U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force out of Greensboro, N.C.

On Thursday, marshals staked out Norton’s next stop, which was a Lowe’s distribution center in Thomasville. They waited until he dropped off his load and took him into custody without incident.

Norton was being held Thursday in the Guilford County Detention Center on $700,000 bail, awaiting extradition back to South Carolina.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.