The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) State Board suspended the teaching license of an Aiken County, South Carolina teacher who was charged last week with child sex trafficking in Columbia County, Georgia.
Jonathan Eugene Grantham, 45, was arrested last week on the federal charge of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity on Feb. 5. Grantham was a teacher at Ridge Spring-Monetta High School in the Aiken County School District.
“As described in court testimony, Grantham is accused of knowingly picking up a minor in Columbia County on or about July 20, 2019, and taking the minor across state lines to engage in prostitution,” a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice said.
According to federal court documents, FBI agents began investigating Grantham last year when they interviewed a child sex trafficking victim for another case.
She told police that a man named “John” (later identified as Grantham) picked her up in Columbia County, drove her to the Ashley Hotel in Beech Island, South Carolina “where they engaged in sexual activity,” according to federal court documents.
During the investigation, FBI agents found emails where Grantham responded to the victim’s Craigslist ad that said she was a teenager who needed to make money, according to court documents. Over email, Grantham told the minor victim to text him and gave her his phone number, which was confirmed as his phone number through AT&T.
She said she was paid in cash.
The victim then identified Grantham in a photo lineup of six men, according to federal court documents.
According to SCDE, Grantham was placed on administrative leave last week after the district found out he was arrested.
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SCDE took emergency action last week to suspend Grantham’s teaching license.
“The SCDE has reason to believe that, due to the serious nature of these allegations of misconduct, Mr. Grantham may pose a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of students, who may be under his instruction,” SCDE officials wrote in the order of summary suspension.
SCDE suspended Grantham’s teaching certificate until he his trial.
Grantham faces life in prison for the federal charge.
Grantham was a teacher for 13 years in South Carolina. He remains in federal custody, according to federal court documents.
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