Crime & Courts

Former Lowcountry Teacher Arrested Again

First degree sexual exploitation of a minor charge filed …

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Last fall, our media outlet reported exclusively – and extensively – on the sad saga of former South Carolina elementary school teacher Holli H. Hodges.

Hodges is (or was) a teacher with the Beaufort-Jasper Head Start program who taught at Beaufort Elementary School. Prior to that, she was a kindergarten assistant at Port Royal Elementary School in the Beaufort County School District (BCSD). 

Last November, we reported on Hodges’ arrest in connection with an alleged child sex abuse material (a.k.a. “child porn”) investigation. This investigation led to Hodges’ explosive incarceration on multiple charges. I say “explosive” because she allegedly “assaulted Beaufort police officers by biting and kicking them” prior to an interrogation.

Hodges, 56, was charged with five counts of third degree assault and battery, one count of resisting arrest and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

That latter charge has been dropped, but the others remain pending at the municipal level – as does a single count of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor filed at the county level at the time.

As part of the original investigation into Hodges, investigators “seized electronic items” belonging to her. These items were submitted to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) division of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson’s office – which indicated it would “forensically examine the items.”

Support FITSNews … SUBSCRIBE!

***

A release from the Beaufort County sheriff’s office (BCSO) noted “additional charges” against Hodges could be forthcoming based on that examination.

On Friday morning (May 31, 2024), Hodges was arrested by BCSO deputies and charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor in the first degree. She was booked at the Beaufort County detention center and held for nearly five hours prior to being released on bond.

First degree sexual exploitation of a minor (§ 16-15-395) is a felony – and the most serious child sex abuse material (or child porn) charge on the books in the Palmetto State. Generally speaking, third degree involves being knowingly in possession of such material, second degree involves its distribution while first degree involves the manufacture and/ or sale of the material. Those convicted of first degree child sexual exploitation must serve at least three years in prison and could serve up to twenty years behind bars. Also, “no part of the minimum sentence of imprisonment may be suspended nor is the individual convicted eligible for parole until he (or she) has served the minimum term of imprisonment.”

First degree child sexual exploitation sentences also run consecutively, not concurrently.

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.

***

RELATED | TEACHER SAGA: THE ORIGIN STORY

***

As our outlet has reported, it has been a difficult road for Hodges. In June of 2021, she threw herself off of the Broad River Bridge – a 1.7-mile span which transports Highway 170 across the tidal channel that separates the South Carolina mainland on the west from Port Royal and Parris Island on the east – in an apparent suicide attempt.

Hodges was rescued by kayakers and transported safely to shore.

According to an incident report (.pdf) obtained from BCSO under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), its deputies responded to the scene and found Hodges’ vehicle parked on the bridge with “a pair of sandals sitting near the railing of the bridge.” They also located “a note … saying goodbye.”

In a lengthy, handwritten statement provided to BCSO deputies, Hodges noted she had been experiencing “ongoing trauma” for quite some time. She cited previous incidents in which she allegedly found a noose placed behind her vehicle in her friend’s driveway and found “a straight razor on the shelf above the sink in (her) classroom.”

As I noted at the time, our media outlet’s primary concern in this case was “for the students entrusted to the care of South Carolina’s government-run school system.” However, we also made it clear we were willing to sit down with Hodges or one of her legal representatives.

“Our media outlet stands ready to hear (and tell) her story in keeping with our longstanding open microphone policy,” I wrote last fall.

As for the new charge against Hodges, a spokesman in the attorney general’s office was not immediately available for comment. A BCSO spokesman indicated the latest warrant was tied to “a 2023 case” and that no additional incident reports were available at present related to the investigation.

Count on our media outlet to keep its audience in the loop on the disposition of all the pending charges involving Hodges and any other updates related to this ongoing investigation.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

***

WANNA SOUND OFF?

Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to address proactively? We have an open microphone policy! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.

***

Get our newsletter by clicking here …

*****

Related posts

Crime & Courts

SLED Agent Terminated Following DUI Arrest

Andrew Fancher
Crime & Courts

SLED Investigating Another Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting In Pickens County

Erin Parrott
Crime & Courts

Mica Miller: Civil Lawsuits on the Horizon?

Jenn Wood

Leave a Comment