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Suspected sexual predators “Caught in the Creek”

  • Updated

It was a sting organized by the Goose Creek Police Department with the help of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force. Twenty-eight people were swept up in the operation that took five months to plan and five days to carry out. It was dubbed “Caught in the Creek.”

The result of the operation brought some suspected child predators out of the darkness and shined some light on how often they lurk and how prevalent they are.

Some of those charged are employees of ride sharing services, local manufactures, chain stores, post offices and one person arrested is with U.S. military. During the operation investigators used proactive measures to get the subjects to think they were contacting young teenagers; these are offenders police call, “travelers.”

“These six men traveled to a specific location for the sole purpose of having sex with an under-aged child,” said Chief LJ Roscoe from the Goose Creek Police Department. “The ages of the children they thought they were coming to have sex with was either 13 or 14 years old. These men were very specific in communicating via the internet with what they wanted and expected.”

At a press conference on Feb. 20, at the Goose Creek Police Department Roscoe said there is still more to investigate and there will be more arrests to come but gave information on some of the suspects.

Matthew Hagen of Ridgeville, is charged with attempted CSC, solicitation and exploitation.

Austin Ostrander of Summerville, is charged with solicitation and attempted CSC.

Seann Peters of Moncks Corner is charged with solicitation, attempted CSC and dissemination.

Kent Turkoly of Goose Creek, is charged with two counts of solicitation, attempted CSC and exploitation.

Joey Dean Clark Jr. of St. George is charged with solicitation and attempted CSC.

Otis R. Miller, Jr. of Goose Creek is charged with two counts of solicitation, two counts of dissemination, promoting prostitution and attempted CSC.

“They work in all different types of areas,” Roscoe said. “The age groups are all over the place, so it’s not just one group of people that we are going after as it relates to demographics, as it relates to ages, as it relates to economic background. It affects everyone.”

The sting that started on Feb. 12 and ended Feb. 16 was called a first-of-its-kind in the Lowcountry. It included the sheriff's offices in York, Marion and Berkeley counties. The Mount Pleasant Police Department also was involved as were the South Carolina State Attorney General’s Office and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.