South Carolina man arrested for online enticement, transfer of obscene material to a child in Kentucky

Nathan Branham

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced today that a South Carolina man has been arrested for online enticement of a minor and transferring obscene material to a minor in the commonwealth of Kentucky. Subsequent to an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, Department of Criminal Investigations Cyber Crimes Unit, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office, and U.S. Attorney Peter McCoy, Jr., Nathan Branham, 39, of Cheraw, S.C. has been charged with the above offenses.

The AG’s office states that earlier this month a mother in Kentucky reached out to their office with regard to Branham’s online contact with her 13-year-old daughter. Using the screen name “Mystic,” he communicated with the girl on UpLive, a live streaming platform. Posing as a 16-year-old boy, “Mystic” asked that she video call him using Google Duo.

Upon connection of the call, the young girl realized that Branham was an adult male and terminated the call. Branham continued to contact her and threatened to find her using her phone number if she didn’t call him back. She complied. At that time, he told her to expose herself to him, and he exposed himself. The girl immediately reported this to her mother, who then contacted the Attorney General’s Criminal Investigations Department. She spoke with investigator Heather D’Hondt.

“When a Kentucky child is exploited and threatened by online predators, our Cyber Crimes Unit works to ensure that the perpetrator is found and brought to justice,” said Attorney General Cameron. “Our strong alliances with state and federal law enforcement transcend state borders and were essential in this investigation and subsequent arrest. I appreciate the strong work of investigator D’Hondt in our office as well as the Secret Service, Attorney General Wilson’s Office, and U.S. Attorney McCoy.”

After an investigation conducted in cooperation with the United States Secret Service, and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, charges were filed. The case is being prosecuted by Derek A. Shoemake, Assistant United States Attorney.

“This case illustrates why it’s crucial that our states work together to protect our children,” said South Carolina Attorney General Wilson. “Criminals using the internet don’t stop at state lines when they’re looking for victims so we have to work across state lines to bring them to justice.”

“The Secret Service is honored to work with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to stop criminals that are exploiting children,” said Ralph Gerdes, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the United States Secret Service Louisville Field Office. “The Louisville Field Office will always be here to utilize our unique cyber-crime capabilities to protect the American people.”

A detention hearing in this case was held in United States District Court on Tuesday. Testimony revealed that Branham had engaged in similar activities and interactions with minor children on more than thirty occasions. In addition, he has previous convictions for indecent exposure, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

“This office will aggressively prosecute those who prey on children, and we have developed great working relationships with our federal and state partners to further those efforts,” said U.S. Attorney McCoy. “The complaint here, of course, speaks for itself and the defendant is presumed innocent.”

The Attorney General’s Department of Criminal Investigations Cyber Crimes Unit is made up of investigators and forensic detectives who support local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. They target online predators attempting to exploit children. To learn more about this unit, visit here.