CHARLESTON, S.C. —Brandon Lazarus Pelphrey, 26, of Monroe, North Carolina, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to Travel with Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct and Commission of a Felony Sex Offense by a Registered Sex Offender.
Evidence presented to the Court showed that Pelphrey traveled from Monroe, North Carolina, to Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina on Nov. 5, 2021, to have sex with whom he believed to be a 13-year-old girl he met online on chat applications Scout and KIK. Pelphrey was actually communicating with an officer of the South Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force posing as a minor. Prior to his trip, Pelphrey transmitted a sexually explicit photograph of himself to the perceived minor female. Upon arrival at the undercover location, Pelphrey was arrested and taken into custody. Further investigation revealed that Pelphrey was previously convicted of a sexual offense with a minor while he was enlisted in the United States Army, and he was a registered sex offender.
United States District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks sentenced Pelphrey to 120 months for Travel with Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct and 120 months imprisonment for Commission of a Felony Sex Offense by a Registered Sex Offender, to be followed by a life term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Pelphrey’s actions are reprehensible and thankfully he was stopped before he could victimize an innocent child; subjecting them to unspeakable trauma,” said Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge for HSI Charlotte, which covers North and South Carolina. “We will remain vigilant and unwavering in our commitment to protect our community and hold predators accountable for their crimes.”
“We will work tirelessly to protect our children from predators like Pelphrey,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina Adair F. Boroughs. “This just sentence serves as a warning to those who attempt to harm the most innocent among us.”
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Mount Pleasant Police Department (MPPD), the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office (SCAG), and other members of the South Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean H. Secor is prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet-safety education.
Media note: If you are seeking a booking photo, Pelphrey is currently detained at the Charleston County Detention Center.