SC

Anderson Couple Sentenced For Sex-Trafficking Minors, Child Sex Abuse Imagery

The Garlands took part in a conspiracy to force two minor victims to engage in no less than 300 sexual encounters with themselves and other patrons.

The United States Attorney’s Office District of South Carolina’s announced in a news release Tuesday that a married Anderson couple has been sentenced for their roles in conspiracies to sex traffic minors and to produce child sex abuse imagery.

Gary Garland, 54, and Shannon Garland, 49, both of Anderson, were sentenced to 35 years and 26 1/2 years respectively.

“Patrons” of the Garlands’ sex-trafficking operation were also sentenced: Johnny Wells, 58, was sentenced to 13 1/2 years; Kianna Daily, 41, was sentenced to five years; Glenn Whitcomb, 69, was sentenced to a year and a half; Michael Skelton, 33, was sentenced to just over a year; and John Towery, 63, and Duwone Allen, 30, were sentenced to five years of probation with house arrest.


“This office and its law enforcement partners work daily to protect our country’s most valuable assets, its children. We will seek swift justice for those who exploit our young people,” said U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis. “This case marks an important turning point in the fight against those who seek to exploit children by putting all would be buyers of sex on notice: law enforcement will go after not just the traffickers who force the minor victims into sexual servitude, but also those who patronize and solicit such sexual encounters.”       

The Garlands took part in a conspiracy to force two minor victims to engage in no less than 300 sexual encounters with themselves and other patrons for the benefit of the Garlands. 

The couple rendered the minors totally dependent on them for survival and provided illicit drugs to the minors to force their participation in the sexual acts. 

They also solicited and advertised for the sexual encounters on the internet.

Wells, Daily, Whitcomb, Skelton, and Towery responded to these sexual solicitation postings and engaged in criminal sexual acts with one of the minors. 

The Garlands recruited Allen, a hotel employee, to participate in the sexual exploitation of one of the minors.

According to the news release, Gary Garland directed all of the sexual acts and required that the patrons consent to video recordings of the sexual encounters with the minor and themselves. Gary Garland subsequently shared these recordings with his co-defendants.  

United States District Donald C. Coggins Jr. imposed the federal prison sentences, which will be followed by a lifetime term of court-ordered supervision.

There is no parole in the federal system. The court also orderedrestitution and forfeiture of the Garlands’ home, and the defendants will have to register as sex offenders after release.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carrie Fisher Sherard and Winston Marosek prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.


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