A 41-year-old South Carolina deputy was arrested Monday for coercing and intimidating an 11-year-old girl into sending him nude photos of herself, threatening to spread the photos she had already sent him if she did not send him more, including photos of herself masturbating.
Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Sergeant Christopher Wilbanks posed as a 14-year-old boy named “Redneck Rick” while communicating with the girl through the Kik app.
The girl, who lives in Washington and told the sergeant she was 12 years old, began by sending him photos of herself fully clothed in which she was smiling.
But Wilbanks persuaded her to send a photo of her bare breasts, which he promised to delete after viewing it.
He then threatened to show other people that photo unless she sent him more photos.
Wilbanks ended up badgering her for a total of 22 photos, which became increasingly more explicit, showing her increasingly distraught and crying with each additional photo.
Wilbanks told her she needed to smile more, then demanded she send him videos, telling her to “insert her fingers” and “spread her pussy,” according to the complaint.
The girl appeared confused and naive, not seeming to understand what he meant.
Wilbanks had contacted her through the Kik app on January 2, 2017. The following day, the girl’s mother contacted police in Washington, who then contacted Homeland Security.
It took several weeks of investigation, including obtaining search warrants to track the phone number to Wilbanks through cell phone companies.
When federal agents interviewed Wilbanks on February 3, he told them the phone number was his, but he had destroyed his phone on the way to the interview.
But the federal agent already had a printout of the conversation between the sergeant and the girl.
Wilbanks also admitted he used the name Redneck Rick among others online. And admitted to receiving child porn in the past through online groups.
Wilbanks, who worked for the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office for 18 years, was fired Friday. He is facing up to 30 years in prison.