Charges dropped after teen changes story

By Tracey Amick  bio | email

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - On Nov. 14, 2007 Sean McNeal went to the K-Mart on Rivers Avenue to get cake mix and a few other items. He had to use the bathroom so he left his cart outside the door and walked in. And when he left the middle stall, he said a teenage boy was standing there  touching himself.

"It was strange someone doing that right there, doing that in the open. Anyone could walk in and see," McNeal said. McNeal said he quickly left the bathroom, finished shopping, and went to check out.

"They had three or four lines open. The only short line was at the end. I went there and saw him and his mom," McNeal said.

McNeal says the boy started to whisper to his mom and she just went off. "'Why did you touch my son? wWat was you doing,' she said. 'I wish I had a gun,'" McNeal said.

McNeal said he sat at the front of the store with a security guard and was confident when police came he'd be released since he said nothing even happened.

But when police arrived he was handcuffed and taken to jail.

"I was like, 'why am I being arrested? A lewd act on a minor?' I was like, 'how? I didn't even touch him,'" McNeal said.

His car was impounded, he lost his job, and he's had to pay $300 a month for his GPS anklet -- not to mention a $50,000 bond.

"I couldn't work, had to stay home, had to depend on others to help me through money-wise. It was hard," McNeal said.

And worse than that, some people even believed it. Then last week the teen changed his story and admitted he made it up. "That's all I got out of it, a false statement, it don't go back and undo two years," McNeal said.

He doesn't blame the legal system or police, since they were just doing their job. He just says he hopes this teenage boy doesn't ruin the life of anyone else.

McNeal says he is now trying to get a job to help pay  back his friends, and he hopes the teenager is at least held accountable and punished by his family.

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