Two plead guilty to sex crimes
An Aiken County man and a Richmond County man have been sentenced after pleading guilty last month to separate sex crimes, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
William Allen Berry, 29, of Aiken County, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor second-degree and five additional counts of sexual exploitation of a minor third-degree, according to a statement from the Attorney General’s Office. Judge Thomas A. Russo sentenced Berry to 10 years in prison suspended to two years and three years probation.
Berry will have to register as a sex offender and must complete sex offender counseling as part of his probation, according to the statement.
Authorities received a tip on May 3, 2011, concerning an individual disseminating child pornography images on the Internet, according to the statement. Investigators searched Berry’s home and seized several computers and other electronic equipment.
“Mr. Berry came in for an interview and gave a full confession regarding the child pornography images and gave a written statement that he began trading child pornography images over the Internet beginning in 2008, and that he would send and receive any photo he could find over the next few years,” the release stated, adding that Berry built up a “collection” of photos and videos.
Randy Isaac Beard, 48, of Augusta, pleaded guilty to one count of dissemination of obscene material to a person under 18, according to the statement. He was sentenced to 10 years suspended to 30 days, followed by three years probation.
Beard must also register as a sex offender and complete sex offender counseling as a condition of his probation.
Beard began texting the 15-year-old victim around Christmas 2011, according to the statement.
“The victim describes that around February 2012, the text messages began to get ‘heavy,’ that the defendant began texting her ‘hey sexy’ and asking for pictures of her breasts and private parts,” the release stated.
Beard also asked the victim for videos, then sent her a picture of his genitals, according to the statement.
The victim’s mother found the picture on the victim’s phone in April and notified authorities, according to the statement. Officers questioned Beard, who admitted to receiving pictures of the victim without clothes on and also admitted to sending her the picture of his genitals.
Both men consented to the forfeiture of their computer equipment to authorities.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime beat for the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Clemson University and hails from Williston.