A former Aiken County assistant solicitor has been released from jail on $50,000 bond.
Anthony Clark Odom is accused of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Spartanburg sheriff's deputies arrested 32-year-old Odom early Friday morning, May 12.
The attorney general's office says he was soliciting sex online from someone he believed to be a 13-year-old girl. But in reality, it was an undercover officer from Spartanburg County.
Anthony Clark Odom was the Aiken County Assistant Solicitor General from 2002 to 2005. He later went into private practice while serving as Deputy Solicitor General for the City of Aiken.
He turned in his resignation Friday.
"He believed he was chatting and soliciting sex from a 13-year-old girl. In reality he was talking to an undercover deputy," says Mark Plowden, deputy communications director for the Office of Attorney General. Plowden says undercover officers have been chatting with Odom online for several months.
"The undercover agents are on very well-known net pages also providing chat room opportunities," he says.
Plowden couldn't say which site since the case is still under investigation.
"From the word go he believed he was talking this talk and requesting certain sexual acts from a 13 year old child."
Ironically, Odom publicly condemned this behavior in the past during his career as assistant solicitor. At a November 2005 teen pregnancy prevention seminar, Odom said, "There is no way to legally engage in sexual activity with someone who's under 16 in this state."
Under South Carolina law, "engaging in sex" applies to every form of communication...even the Internet.
"There is no doubt as to what he wanted, and there is no way to air the chats," Plowden says. "It would make your stomach turn."
After closely monitoring Anthony Odom online for several months, Spartanburg deputies seized his computer and made the arrest.
"It's disgusting. It's absolutely disgusting," Plowden says. "These are grown men out there of all ages who are knowingly and willingly targeting 13 and 14 year olds...targeting them on any sex act you can imagine."
Odom is out on bond. The terms are: no Internet access at home, no contact with anyone under 18, and no leaving the state without permission.
Odom could later be indicted by a grand jury.
Soliciting sex from a minor is a felony charge. Odom faces one count. The offense has a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.