South Carolina man sentenced to prison for taking minor across state line for sex
Defendant drove 12-year-old girl from Savannah
SAVANNAH, GA: A South Carolina man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for picking up a Savannah runaway and taking her across state lines for sex.
Darick McPherson, 20, of Ridgeland, S.C., pled guilty to Transportation with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity and was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore to 120 months in prison and to pay restitution of $29,775.50, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. McPherson also will be required to serve 15 years of supervised release after completion of his prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.
“This was no ‘Romeo and Juliet’ romantic fantasy,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “This is an adult predator who groomed a 12-year-old from a troubled home and enticed her to sneak away in the dead of night for his own sick gratification. The young victim will now have an opportunity to mature without his malignant influence.”
According to court documents and testimony, police in Ridgeland, S.C., discovered McPherson with the victim on the night of Dec. 19, 2017, after complaints of a domestic disturbance. The investigation determined McPherson had picked up the 12-year-old from her Savannah home after her guardian left for work and drove her to South Carolina.
“It is clear from this sentencing that McPherson’s actions will not be tolerated by our justice system,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Our warning to predators is that the FBI is determined to go to great lengths to protect our most vulnerable citizens from those who seek to manipulate and do them harm.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.
The case was investigated by the FBI, with the Allendale, S.C., and Ridgeland, S.C., Police Departments and the Savannah Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tania D. Groover.