ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina)- Court documents show that three additional suspects were indicted on April 21 as part of an ongoing sex trafficking investigation in Anderson County.
Among those indicted is a former Oconee County deputy who also worked as a school resource officer, John Towery. He worked at Fair-Oak Elementary School. In March, we reported that Towery was fired during an ongoing Homeland Security investigation.
In addition to Towery, two other suspects were indicted in April: Glen Whitcomb and Kianna Dailey. Each suspect is facing the following charges:
- Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children by force, fraud, or coercion: forfeiture
- Sexual exploitation of children; forfeiture
Each suspect was granted a $25,000 unsecured bond between April 26 and May 3, according to the court documents.
These arrests are related to an ongoing Anderson County sex trafficking investigation that we have covered since last year.
In April 2020, an Anderson County couple was arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. According to arrest warrants, Gary and Shannon Garland are accused of abusing two victims, ages 14 and 15. Investigators said video evidence of sexual abuse supported the charges against them.
The U.S. Attorneys Office announced additional arrests related to the case in August 2020. Michael Skelton, Johnnie Wells and Duwone Allen were indicted federally for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and production of child pornography.
Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride called the allegations against all 5 of the suspects indicted in 2020 "sick and despicable."
The District Attorney said the suspects would advertise and transport at least two minors for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts and the Garlands would produce photo or video of the victims.
The newly-filed indictment says Towery, Whitcomb and Dailey participated in the conspiracy.
We reached out to the Oconee County Sheriff about the allegations. He release the following statement:
"It is disheartening to think any law enforcement officer would involve themselves in this type of behavior. This is why local, state, and federal agencies have investigators assigned to catch whoever engages in this illegal activity. I feel confident saying that no children in Oconee County are victims as a result of Towery’s actions."
Last year, Wells pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. In January, Shannon Garland pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking of a minor and conspiracy to produce child pornography. Skelton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in April. All three agreed to cooperate with the federal investigation as part of their plea deals.
This is currently an ongoing case. We will update this story as more details are released.