CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Investigators have arrested a 24-year-old man who they say choked a 14-year-old girl after she refused to have sex with him.
Charleston County detectives arrested Paul Thomas Capo III of North Charleston on Friday and charged him with delinquency of a minor, second-degree assault and battery, first- and second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, and distributing a controlled substance to a person under 18 years old.
The sheriff's office states an investigation determined that Capo communicated with a 14-year-old juvenile through an online chat application.
A report states Capo then picked the juvenile up from her home and took her to an apartment in West Ashley.
According to investigators, Capo knew the juvenile was 14-years-old and discussed her age with the victim prior to meeting her in person.
The investigation started in May when deputies received a report of a missing girl who was eventually located and returned home a couple of days later.
During a subsequent interview, the victim said the the suspect had picked her up from her home and took her to an apartment.
Court records state the suspect had originally planned to pick the victim up from school; authorities said the victim's guardian does not know the suspect and there were no arrangements for the suspect to pick the juvenile up.
According to court records, Capo told the victim he wanted to have sex with her, and when the victim resisted, Capo grabbed the victim's throat and began choking her. Authorities say Capo stopped when the victim struck him in the head with her fist.
Court records state the suspect also touched the victim inappropriately. Authorities say the suspect provided marijuana to the victim before attempting to sexually assault her.
The victim told investigators Capo knew how old she was since they had a discussion of her age during an earlier communication.
According to the victim, two weeks earlier when she first began communicating with Capo, the suspect requested she send him nude photos.
"This request was during a discussion of the two being in a dating relationship," court records state. "The request was made via an online chat application."
Investigators say when the victim told Capo that she did not send nude photos, he sent four sexually explicit nude photos of the victim he had obtained elsewhere online.
The victim said she knew these photos to be of herself that she had previously taken and posted online.
"The Charleston County Sheriff's Office would like to remind parents to talk to your children about internet safety and monitor their online activity on all electronic devices, including phones and tablets," read a statement by the sheriff's office.