Alleged sextortionist Mark Robert Reynolds, accused of pressuring a 14-year-old girl into sending sexually explicit photos to him via Internet-based social networks, was arrested Monday and booked into the Florence County Detention Center for violating a court order to stay away from computers and the Internet.
Reynolds pleaded not guilty in August to three child pornography charges that could send him to prison for up to 60 years. He was released on an unsecured $100,000 bond under the condition that he refrain from using computers while awaiting his trial date.
A probation officer who checked Reynolds’ Facebook account noticed that Reynolds had posted an obscenity on a group page titled “Real House Buddies of Myrtle Beach” at 10:36 p.m. on Oct. 20, according to court documents. The probation officer filed a request to revoke Reynolds’ bond and an arrest warrant was issued.
During a hearing Monday in Florence, Magistrate Judge Kaymani West said Reynolds “is unlikely to abide by any condition or combination of conditions of release” and ordered U.S. Marshals to take him into custody.
Reynolds had been on six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring at the home he shared with roommates on Pinto Road in unincorporated Horry County.
Reynolds is facing two felony charges of receipt and distribution of child pornography and one felony charge of possessing child pornography involving a prepubescent minor.
The charges mirror a fairly new type of crime investigators call sextortion, in which an online acquaintance convinces a minor to privately send sexually suggestive photos by email or through social networks. The perpetrator then threatens to post those photos online for everyone to see if the minor refuses to send additional, often more graphic, photos.
Homeland Security Investigations in July executed a search warrant at the Pinto Lane home after investigating allegations that Reynolds had pressured a girl from Michigan into sending him nude images of herself.
The girl told police that she had been contacted by a stranger — who police identify as Reynolds — via the Instagram picture and message sharing service. While communicating with the stranger through Instagram and Kik Messenger, the girl sent the stranger a picture of herself wearing a bathing suit as well as a picture of herself wearing underwear.
The stranger, who claimed to be an 18-year-old male from Georgia, then requested nude photos of the girl and threatened to post the pictures she had already sent online if she did not comply, according to court documents. The girl eventually sent the nude photos and the stranger continued to pressure her into sending more explicit pictures, again threatening to post those she had already sent if she did not respond.
The alleged sextortion continued while the girl was on vacation with her parents, according to court documents. The parents recalled their daughter spending hours at a time in the bathroom while on the vacation and the girl later confirmed that she was communicating with the stranger and sending photos during that time.
The charge involving a prepubescent minor stems from items seized during the search. Investigators also seized a laptop computer, a Nook tablet, a PlayStation Portable and unspecified documents, according to a search warrant.