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Man arrested after investigators find locked room plastered with child pornography

Source: OCSO Source: OCSO
ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

A Lowcountry man is behind bars after investigators found a locked room with child pornography plastered around the walls. 

Bond was denied on Thursday for 60-year-old John Chavis who is charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, second degree sexual exploitation of a minor and third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. 

“This has been an case that went from bad to worse very quickly,” Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said. “The more we looked into this case, the worse it got.”

According to the sheriff's office, the case came to the attention of investigators on New Year’s Day when a man notified the OCSO of a substantial quantity of child pornography he had discovered in a man's Springfield home.

"The man reporting the pornography said he was informed Chavis had illegal substances in his system that was discovered during a hospital visit," OCSO officials said. 

A report states Investigators were told the man was searching Chavis’s residence for the illegal drugs when he instead discovered photographs of children.

“When we were able to obtain search warrants for this property, we located a locked room that contained indescribable materials,” Ravenell said. “This was a 12 by 12 room, locked and sealed, that had child pornography plastered around the walls. 

The photographs are believed to have been taken around 2000-2003 when the victims were toddlers.

Authorities say there were several pairs of "children panties and some dolls" found as well. 

Ravenell said in a statement that investigators have spent only one day at the property and have thus far recovered “a massive amount of evidence related to this case.”

“Boxes and boxes of material has been seized as evidence,” he said. “We’re going to be out there for some time yet.”

During the bond hearing, lead investigator Lakesha Gillard told the court that Chavis admitted to taking the photos but denied making any contact with the children.

A woman addressing the court as the children’s mother said the victims feel Chavis betrayed their trust. 

She asked that Dash deny bond.

“This investigation is ongoing,” Ravenell said. “If there are more charges, we will certainly obtain warrants for them.”

Chavis faces up to 15 years alone for third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

The sexual exploitation charges carry up to 10 years each.

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