Trenton man convicted on 28 child sex abuse charges

Harold Cartwright III during his first day of the trial. (WRDW-TV)

Harold Cartwright III during his first day of the trial. (WRDW-TV)

Friday, April 19, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- A hung jury (11-1) led to a mistrial last November, but since then, the Aiken County Solicitor's Office went back to the drawing board. After a retrial this week, a jury convicted Harold Cartwright on 28 sexual abuse charges Thursday.

Assistant Solicitor Kevin Maloney told News 12 Cartwright was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The crimes happened in North Augusta, spanned several years and involved three victims.

The victims, who are now older or adults, say Cartwright started the behavior more than 20 years ago when they were still small children. In fact, one allegation claims Cartwright began molesting one of the girls in 1989, when she was just 4 years old. Some parts of the testimony included graphic discussions of alleged sex acts.

In previous testimony, victims said that Cartwright would give them gifts of money or clothes in exchange for sex. She also said that when she resisted, Cartwright would physically stop her from doing so. All three said the sex acts happened off and on. They say there were some periods where Cartwright would molest them multiple times per week.

According to Maloney, a News 12 story was a crucial piece of evidence. In the previous mistrial, Cartwright said he found the girls on a porn website and almost got them in trouble with the law, which is why they accused him of molestation. Cartwright was so mad about the allegations that he even contacted News 12 back in early 2011 before his arrest. He didn't want to give his name or show his face at the time, but he wanted to speak out about how other kids could be doing this.

He was arrested just a few weeks after News 12 interviewed him. The victims and other witnesses for the state say the girls in the pictures were not victims of Cartwright.

Since the mistrial, video of the story was subpoenaed from News 12. Maloney says there were inconsistencies between Cartwright's interview in the story and his previous testimony. These inconsistencies were pointed out to the jury during cross-examination and closing arguments.

Ultimately, the state also had physical DNA evidence. The state compared DNA found in semen on one of the victim's beds to Cartwright's DNA and found a match.

"The probability of selecting an unrelated individual having the DNA profile matching this item, talking about item number 2.1, the cutting from the sheet, is approximately 1 in 16,000,000,000,000," said Lilly Gallman, a forensic DNA analyst for SLED, in the previous mistrial.

Cartwright faced the following charges (see note below):

- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree (of a 15-16 -year-old)
- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree (of a 9-year-old)
- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree (of a 4-year-old)
- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree (of a 5-year-old)
- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree (of a 6-year-old)
- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree (of a 7-year-old)
- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree (of a 8-year-old)
- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree (of a 9-year-old)
- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree (of a 10-year-old)
- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree (of a 14-year-old while defendant was in familial or official authority of victim)
- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree (of a 15-year-old)
- Criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the third degree (of a minor who was mentally defective or physically helpless)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 2000-2001)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 2006-2007)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 2005-2006)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 2004-2005)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 2003-2004)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 2002-2003)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 2008-2009)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 2009-2010)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 2010-2011)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 1989-1990)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 1990-1991)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 1991-1992)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 1992-1993)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 1993-1994)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 1994-1995)
- Lewd act upon a child (from 1995-1996)

(*NOTE: Each listed incident includes a separate indictment, because the punishment is possibly different for each age group.)


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