BEAUFORT, SC (Aug. 24, 2018) – A Walterboro man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 6-year-old relative during the Thanksgiving holiday in 2016.
Ronald Kyle Harvey, 21, pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor Friday in Beaufort County General Sessions Court, three days before he was to stand trial in Colleton County.
“Harvey befriended this young relative, then took advantage of him,” said Hunter Swanson of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “I really hope this resolution can allow this child to recover from the trauma he has suffered.”
A relative was awakened by the child’s scream at about 1 a.m. Nov. 23, 2016, in a Walterboro home where several family members were staying during the Thanksgiving holiday. She went to the living room and discovered Harvey crouched over the boy. He appeared to be fidgeting with his pants and putting a blanket over his victim, who was crying on a couch.
The woman took the boy to a bedroom, where he returned to sleep. The next morning, the woman asked the child what happened the night before. He told her that Harvey sexually assaulted him. The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office was called to investigate.
A physical exam of the victim revealed injuries consistent with a sexual assault. He also told a forensic interviewer that in the past, Harvey had shown him pornography on television and made him touch is penis. The boy also indicated Harvey had sexually assaulted him before.
In a law-enforcement interview, Harvey said he had been out drinking that night. He denied the sexual assault. However, as his interrogation continued, his version of events changed, and he admitted he “might have” fondled the boy while trying to adjust the covers around him.
Circuit Court Judge Brooks Goldsmith handed down the sentence.
Swanson is the leader of the Solicitor’s Office Special Victims Unit, which prosecutes criminal sexual conduct, domestic violence and other crimes against vulnerable people. She has secured guilty verdicts against each of the six defendants she has prepared to take to trial since the SVU was formed in 2017.