A South Carolina deputy who posed as a 14-year-old boy online and coerced an 11-year-old into sending him nude photos of herself by threatening to spread the photos she’d already sent him pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child on November 6.
Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Sergeant Christopher Wilbanks, 41, dubbed himself “Redneck Rick” while communicating with the victim through the Kik app, but told the victim his real name was Jaden, according to an arrest affidavit.
Wilbanks convinced the girl he attended the same school as her and ultimately received 22 photo images of the child, including some showing her partially nude and some fully nude.
Initially, Wilbanks persuaded the victim to send a photo of herself in shorts and a sports bra, but as the conversation progressed he began requesting the victim remove her shirt and asked her about her pubic hair.
Then deputy “Redneck Rick” convinced the girl to remove her sports bra and send him a photo of her bare breasts.
During their conversation on Kik, Wibanks promised he would delete each photo that she sent after he viewed it.
But after the victim sent a provocative photograph he told her he would send it to other people unless she sent him more.
When the minor female victim refused to send a full body photo, “Redneck Rick” persisted, saying he was upset with her for not sending a photograph and not being “honest about how she looked.”
Wilbanks badgered the girl, saying he wanted to see “how fit” her body was.
Deputy Wilbanks continued to harass the girl, telling her she needed to smile more after she began to appear visibly upset as she sent more photos.
He then began demanding she send him videos, telling her to masturbate for him.
Wilbanks had contacted the victim via the Kik app on January 2, 2017. The following day, the girl’s mother contacted police in Washington, who then contacted Homeland Security.
After several weeks of investigating and obtaining a search warrant, Wilbanks’ cellphone number was linked back to his activity on Kik through cell phone records.
Federal agents interviewed Wilbanks on February 3, 2017 and he admitted the phone number was his, but said he destroyed the phone on the way to the interview with authorities.
But the federal agent already had a printout of the dialogue between Sergeant Wilbanks and his victim.
During the interview with federal agents, Wilbanks admitted he used the moniker Redneck Rick, as well as other aliases online. He also admitted to receiving child porn in the past through online groups.
Wilbanks, who worked for the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Officer for 18 years, has not yet been sentenced.
He faces up to 30 years in prison.
Read the affidavit for his arrest below.