A South Carolina man who used social media to groom then entice an underage teen to meet him in both Franklin and Cherokee recently pleaded guilty to statutory rape, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said.
Jonathan A. Wyles, 34, of Lancaster, South Carolina, had sexual intercourse three times in December 2021 with the then 15 year old.
Statutory rape applies to a defendant who is at least six years older than a 13, 14 or 15 year old.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Bill Coward sentenced Wyles to serve in prison a minimum of 240 months up to a maximum of 348 months.
“This situation serves as a cautionary tale for parents or guardians,” Welch said. “The defendant preyed on this child after targeting her for exploitation in a teen hangout.”
The victim’s mother reported to Franklin police that her child had been sexually assaulted after the mother discovered incriminating messages on a phone.
Earlier that same month, Wyles had devised a plan for the teenager to tell her mother that she would be staying with a friend, but instead she met with him.
Franklin Police Department Sgt. Justin Norman investigated the case with assistance from Cherokee Police Department. Assistant District Attorney John Hindsman Jr. prosecuted the defendant.