A man who was arrested by the South Carolina Highway Patrol over DUI charges on the previous Sunday has now been charged with committing a lewd act with a child. The said charge no longer exists in the South Carolina law anymore and has since been replaced by sexual conduct with a minor.
According to the details shared in a police report from Myrtle Beach police, the accused is identified as Juan Jose Rodriguez-Esquivel, 37. The victim, in a statement to the police, stated that Esquivel had touched her inappropriately back in 2009 when she was 11. She also said that Esquivel had told her that he loved her while holding her hand.
At the time, the charge of committing a lewd act with a child existed in the state’s laws. Esquivel was arrested on Sunday and the original charge brought against him was that of DUI. After his arrest, Esquivel was detained at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center. His bail was set at $26,000.
According to the Solicitor for the 15h Judicial District, Esquivel is going to be charged under ‘lewd act with a child.’ Although this charge does not exist anymore, Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says that the charge will be used because it existed at the time the crime was committed. In such a case, the old statute is to be used in indicting the suspect.
However, Richardson also said that it is possible for the prosecution to eventually change the outdated statute with the existing one. If that happens, the charge of ‘lewd act with a child’ will be replaced with ‘third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.’ The present charge carries stiff penalties in South Carolina laws. If convicted, the suspect may be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
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