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Myrtle Beach man gets 15 years in prison for sexual assault of 13-year-old

A Myrtle Beach man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to being responsible for the June 2007 sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl he met through a social telephone chat room, according to court officials.

Nathaniel Caldwell, 54, pleaded guilty Thursday to kidnapping in connection with the June 2007 disappearance and sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl from Dorchester County.

Circuit Court Judge Larry Hyman sentenced Caldwell to 15 years in prison without the possibility of parole and ordered him to register as a sex offender.

The girl was first thought to be a runaway, but officials later tracked her to Caldwell's home in Myrtle Beach. Police said the girl met Caldwell through a social telephone chat room and the two had talked before the incident.

The girl had been at Caldwell's house for three days and had been sexually assaulted, according to authorities. DNA evidence processed by the State Law Enforcement Division showed the girl had been at Caldwell's home and had been assaulted there.

Caldwell was scheduled to go to trial this week, but pleaded guilty instead. It was the second time his case was set for trial.

Caldwell was set to be tried in August 2008, but he failed to show up for court. Following his arrest, Caldwell had been free on $25,000 bail pending the trial.

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