AUGUSTA, Ga. (WSAV) — A former South Carolina teacher faces prison for child sexual exploitation with a minor.
45-year-old Jonathan Eugene Grantham, of Graniteville, S.C., pleaded guilty to Coercion and Enticement of a Minor to Engage in Sexual Activity, says David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Grantham faces a minimum of 10 years up to life in prison and financial penalties and restitution to the victim, Estes said.
“It’s sickening to contemplate the fact that while Jonathan Grantham was serving as a high-school teacher, he was surreptitiously participating in the depraved sex trafficking of a child,” Estes said. “This plea will hold him accountable for his crimes, while our diligent law enforcement partners continue their outstanding work to protect our most vulnerable citizens from such predation.”
He’s in federal custody as he awaits sentencing. Grantham also must register as a sex offender and serve five years or more of supervised release. He was a teacher at Ridge Spring-Monetta High School in Ridge Spring, S.C. at the time.
FBI agents discovered Grantham’s involvement while investigating sex trafficking in 2019. The FBI’s investigation claims in July 2019 he traveled from South Carolina to Columbia County, Georgia to engage in sex with a minor, Estes said.
Grantham said, in his plea agreement, that he contacted the victim through the internet and coerced them “to engage in sexual activity for which the defendant could be charged with a criminal offense, that is, child molestation.”
“Grantham targeted and manipulated a child for his own perverse enjoyment,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI has zero tolerance for child predators, and we will continue to use any resources necessary to apprehend anyone who carries out these appalling crimes.”