Seneca Man arrested on Multiple Child Sex Crimes

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca man Monday afternoon on multiple child sex crimes. Booked into the Oconee County Detention Center was 34-year-old Brandon Ray McKern on 25 counts of first degree sexual exploitation of a minor, 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree and 3 counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the third degree. According to Sgt. Tim Rice, the Child and Elder Abuse Investigator of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and an investigator with the South Carolina Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, in 2017, investigators began an investigation as a result of multiple tips received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC received these reports from Facebook who discovered alleged criminal activity on their servers. Based upon further investigation, investigators obtained a search warrant which was executed at a residence in Seneca Monday. Investigators gathered evidence and based upon the evidence obtained in the investigation, Sgt. Rice had probable cause to obtain arrest warrants against McKern. At this time, according to Sgt. Rice, 26 victims have been identified, 25 of which McKern is accused of exploiting online. One victim, based upon the evidence gathered in the investigation, was sexually assaulted by McKern. Sgt. Rice believes that there are further victims and is requesting that anyone who may have been a victim of McKern’s or may have information to contact the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-638-4111. The Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office assisted in the investigation. At this time, McKern remains in custody at the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. McKern received a combined $870,000 surety bond on all charges. If McKern makes bond, as a condition of bond, he cannot have any contact with anyone under the age of 16, has to surrender his passport, can have no cell phone or computer internet usage, no contact with the victims, no out of state travel and will be required to wear an electronic monitoring device. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation and further charges are pending in the case.