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KCSO arrests N.C. man in predator sting

Posted: March 22, 2012 5:02 p.m.
Updated: March 23, 2012 5:00 a.m.

A North Carolina man already accused of molesting a 15-year-old Kershaw County girl is sitting in jail now after the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) arrested him in an Internet sexual predator sting.

In a statement released to the press early Thursday afternoon, Sheriff Jim Matthews identified the man as Claude Isaac Flynn, 37, of Gastonia, N.C.

Matthews said deputies charged Flynn with two counts of criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor and multiple counts of criminal solicitation of a minor.

The two CSC charges stem from a Feb. 6 report filed by the mother of a 15-year-old county girl. According to that KCSO report, the girl’s mother reported she believed her daughter engaged in sexual relations with Flynn. She said she found several explicit texts and photographs on her daughter’s cell phone and iPod Touch after her daughter returned from a hospital stay. The woman said her stepdaughter later told her that Flynn came to their home to be with her daughter and believed that was when a sexual encounter took place.

Matthews said Flynn may have been in contact with and had sexual relations with the girl between December and January.

The investigation of those allegations included KCSO deputies “chatting” with Flynn on the Internet and by telephone while pretending to be a 14-year-old girl.

“Flynn, who was very explicit in his phone communications … arranged to travel to Kershaw County for the purpose of engaging in sexual relations with the ‘juvenile,’” Matthews said.

The ruse worked. At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, deputies watched as Flynn arrived in Kershaw County to meet with the “juvenile.” The KCSO report listed the meeting location as “Smith Park” in Lugoff.

Matthews said “a lot” of man-hours went into the investigation, which included consultations with the S.C. Attorney General’s Office, S.C. State Law Enforcement Division, Gastonia (N.C.) Police Department and N.C. State Bureau of Investigation.

“We are now active members of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) network, and we wanted to make sure we did this the correct way so there would be no problems with the prosecution of this case,” Matthews said. “As far as I know, this is the first time the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office has arrested anyone who traveled from out of state after soliciting a Kershaw County child for sex. This kind of criminal behavior is especially troubling as so many young people utilize the Internet and social networking sites to talk with people they think are also young people.

“Unfortunately, sick perverted people disguise themselves as young people and set up illicit meetings in order to engage in sexual activity with these young kids. Not only is it perverted, it is very dangerous and we will do all we can to protect our children from these predators.”

Matthews said more charges are likely.

“We just now got his computer,” Matthews. “We also have information that he made contact with other young females in another state.”

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