SC inmate charged after victim reports abuse, phone found in cell

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GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – Greenville police say a South Carolina inmate has been charged with criminal sexual conduct after he reportedly contacted a former victim asking for nude photos.

According to a police department news release, Samuel Lamont Whitner, 34, continued with the reported unsolicited communications using a contraband cell phone at Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia.

Whitner is serving a 30-year prison sentence for a 2009 conviction for the sexual assault of a 6-year-old.

According to the release, Whitner’s latest charge comes after a now 20-year-old woman came forward in January to report sexual assaults that happened in 2009, when she was 10 and 11 years old.

Police said the victim and her mother met with detectives to report a sexual assault by Whitner.

“It seems like such a huge injustice that someone would be behind bars and yet still able to continue to commit offenses…to a victim that’s already been victimized,” said Shauna Galloway-Williams, executive director of the Julie Valentine Center. 

The offenses reportedly occurred from May 1 through Nov. 11, 2009, while Whitner was reportedly out on bond for the sexual assault of the 6-year-old.

“For many years the victim remained silent about the incidents; however, after receiving numerous, unwanted social media messages from Whitner, the victim felt compelled to come forward and report the crime,” from the release. “During interviews, the victim provided investigators with messages from Whitner, which substantiated the abuse. Greenville detectives then notified the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) of the investigation and requested a search of Whitner’s prison cell. This resulted in recovery of a contraband cell phone.”

According to the release, detectives presented their findings to the Greenville City Municipal Court and obtained a warrant charging Whitner with first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

South Carolina does not have a statue of limitations when it comes to sexual assault.

At a news conference on May 10, S.C. Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling, along with Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller outlined how the use of contraband cell phones allows inmates to continue criminal activities and acts of violence, as well as gave information on the blackmail scheme by two inmates at Lee Correctional Institution.

According to the release, both Stirling and Miller encouraged federal lawmakers and agencies to allow correctional facilities use cell phone-jamming technologies to block inmates from using the cell phones.

“This is one more example of how badly we need to pass legislation to allow us to jam cell phone signals,” Stirling said. “Criminals go to prison and they are physically incarcerated, but they are virtually out amongst us.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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