An Aiken County jury took less than an hour to convict Benjamin Paul Green, IV, 29, of Grey’s Inn Road in Columbia of attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor and attempted solicitation of a minor.
Green sobbed, holding his clasped hands to his forehead as Judge Doyet A. “Jack” Early Jr. pronounced sentence. Then, Green, a father of two, fell forward to the bar before he was removed from the courtroom yelling “But, I have babies.”
The defendant engaged in an online chat with an Aiken County Sheriff’s Office investigator who was fishing for predators under the username “LittleMandy14SC.”
After a sexually explicit conversation in which the “girl” agreed to meet for sex, Green hoped in his two-door Oldsmobile and with a bottle of liquor, condoms and a sexual drug supplement, drove an hour to Beech Island.
“For the defendant, the Internet was a doorway into little Mandy,” Assistant Attorney General Suzanne Ringler said in closing. “The defendant intended to walk through it and into little Mandy’s bedroom.”
When he arrived, Green was arrested by three Aiken County investigators.
Green’s computer was seized. Pictures of himself that he had sent to the “girl,” including two photos of his genitals, where found on his computer. Further analysis showed a previous chat with a 17-year-old in which meeting for sex was discussed and Green told her “I got in trouble before, so I’m scared.”
As a defense, attorney Michael McMullen called the woman whose picture was used on the profile of “LittleMandy14SC.” Taken when she was 24, McMullen stressed his client was meeting someone as old as in the picture.
In the chat, however, Green acknowledged the age of the “girl” on several occasions.
In a rambling, disjointed closing, McMullen moved tangentially around the facts and attacked the law itself – which he was rebuked for several times by Early.
McMullen blamed the chat provider, Yahoo.com, for allowing kids on their sites and also claimed all of the chat was fantasy.
“This was no fantasy. He brought his condoms, he brought his liquor, he brought his supplements to make sure it happened,” Ringler said. “He had the whole evening planned.”
“The evidence was overwhelming, way beyond reasonable doubt,” Early said at sentencing. “We have to protect our children… Thank goodness we have this task force that is able to prevent this type of crime.”