Crime & Courts

Lowcountry South Carolina Teacher Focus Of Child Porn Investigation

Teacher arrested for possessing image of underage child …

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At a time when the debate over pornography in South Carolina schools is approaching a crescendo, investigators at the Beaufort County, South Carolina sheriff’s office (BCSO) have launched an investigation into an elementary school teacher accused of possessing child pornography.

One which led to an explosive arrest on Halloween …

According to a statement released on Thursday (November 2, 2023) by the sheriff’s office, 55-year-old Holli H. Hodges of Bluffton, S.C. was arrested this week and charged with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. The arrest warrant for the charge was “served on Hodges … who was already incarcerated at the Beaufort County detention center.”

What was she doing behind bars already? Doesn’t incarceration typically come after an arrest? A statement issued on Thursday afternoon by the Beaufort, S.C. police department shed some light on the situation …

“On October 31st, 2023, Beaufort Police officers were made aware of a potential criminal incident involving Holli Hodges,” the statement noted. “Ms. Hodges was contacted and voluntarily responded to the Beaufort Police Department where (she) was escorted to an interview room.”

Alright … so far, so good.

Things were about to jump the rails, though.

(Click to View)

City of Beaufort, S.C. police department headquarters, site of Holli H. Hodges explosive “interview” with local police. (Beaufort Police)

“Prior to any questions being asked or any statements being given, Ms. Hodges assaulted Beaufort police officers by biting and kicking them,” the police statement continued. “Ms. Hodges was taken into custody, and a search incident to arrest revealed she was in possession of a Schedule II drug.”

Beaufort police charged her with five counts of third degree assault and battery, one count of resisting arrest and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

At this point, “the investigation was turned over to the Beaufort County sheriff’s office,” the statement concluded.

Hodges is a teacher with the Beaufort-Jasper Head Start program. According to the sheriff’s office, she teaches at Beaufort Elementary School – where she is assigned to classroom two – although the Head Start program has classrooms in multiple local schools.

“Investigators have verified that Hodges possessed at least one image of a child which constitutes a violation of South Carolina law,” the sheriff’s office release noted.

On Tuesday evening, investigators “seized electronic items belonging to Hodges.” These items have been submitted to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) division of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson‘s office.

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“This is an active investigation,” the sheriff’s release added. “Additional charges may be forthcoming as the case progresses.”

As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Hodges is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as she may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges that have been (or may be) filed against her.

At this point, it would appear Hodges’ case will be prosecuted by Wilson’s office however we have not received confirmation of that from the attorney general’s staff. Also, there is no initial word on the amount or conditions of Hodges’ bond – or a date for her first court appearance on any of the charges she is facing.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general said ICAC “intend(s) to forensically examine the items,” but could not comment beyond that.

Stay tuned to this media outlet for updates on this story as new information becomes available.

UPDATE | ORIGINS OF THE SCANDAL

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Dylan Nolan)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.

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