Two brothers are accused of sexually assaulting a child. 7 News has learned that one of the suspects is a registered sex offender.
Michael Alan Long, 67, and his brother, William Howard Long, 68, are sitting in the Spartanburg County Jail, both accused of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 11. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the victim is related to them.
“Last year 71 percent of the cases we were involved with involved offenders who were family members or either a parent’s boyfriend or girlfriend,” said Suzy Cole, who is the executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union Counties.
She says 735 children were referred to the Children’s Advocacy Center in 2017.
Warrants show the alleged abuse happened between 2015 and 2017. This isn’t either suspect’s first run in with the law. In 1975, William Howard Long was convicted of grand larceny. His brother Michael Alan Long has been convicted of malicious damage to property. He is also a registered sex offender with a previous conviction for a lewd act on a minor.
“Pedophiles are looking for kids, and the ones they have the most access to are the ones within their own family,” Cole said.
The same alleged victim came forward in early 2017 with allegations against sex offender Michael Alan Long. He was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct of a child between the ages of 14 and 16. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Long was put on house arrest.
The Sheriff’s Office tells us it became apparent that the victim’s mother was not ensuring her children stayed away from him during that time. In another interview, the alleged victim said Michael Alan Long had abused them earlier, when they were under 11 years old. The victim also said William Howard Long, another family member, had abused them previously, as well.
“Unfortunately sex abuse is a way of life for a lot of families in our community,” Cold said. “So one of our goals is to try to get to these kids and help get them the services they need to hopefully end that cycle in their family.”
Cole also wants to make it clear that kids who have been victims of crimes like this can be extremely resilient. She says they can absolutely go on to lead normal lives, especially if they get the support they need.
“We encourage kids, if this is happening to you, find someone you trust like a teacher, a guidance counselor, or maybe a relative…let them know what’s going on, so the authorities can intervene and try to help you,” she said.
The number for the Children’s Advocacy Center is 864-515-9922.