ROCKINGHAM — A Richmond County man is accused of sending sexually explicit text and picture messages to a minor in South Carolina.
S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson issued a press release Wednesday announcing the arrest of Robert Lee Watson, 37, of Hamlet, on 10 felony charges related to the case: one count of criminal solicitation of a minor and nine counts of felony dissemination of obscene material to a minor.
Both charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years behind bars each, with the latter requiring defendants to register as sex offenders if convicted.
The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, which is a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, became aware of the situation when the victim’s parents called with concerns, deputies said.
Deputies say Watson communicated with the juvenile between June 29-July 10, sending more than 2,000 text and picture messages of a sexual nature, adding that the situation could have been going on longer. Deputies did not specify whether the messages were sent online or via cellphone.
Watson was arrested after local lawmen executed a search warrant at his home Tuesday.
He is currently in the Richmond County jail under a $50,000 bond awaiting extradition to South Carolina.
Watson has no record of criminal convictions resulting in probation or prison time in North Carolina, according to the N.C. Division of Adult Correction. Court records show a pending felony fugitive extradition charge in Richmond County.
The S.C. attorney general’s office will prosecute Watson on the charges.
Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.