AUGUSTA, GA: A federal grand jury has indicted a Graniteville, S.C. teacher on additional federal charges related to the initial allegation that charged him with transporting a minor across state lines for sex.
Jonathan Eugene Grantham, 45, of Graniteville, S.C., is named in a four-count indictment charging him with Sex Trafficking of a Minor; Coercion and Enticement of a Minor to Engage in Sexual Activity; Travel with Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct; and Transportation with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The sex trafficking charge carries a minimum penalty upon conviction of 15 years in prison, and a maximum penalty of life in prison. There is no parole in the federal system.
“The protection of innocent and vulnerable children is of paramount importance to our office,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “We applaud the hard work of the FBI agents in diligently investigating these difficult cases.”
At the time of his arrest in February, Grantham was employed as a teacher at Ridge Spring-Monetta High School in Ridge Spring, S.C. A U.S. District Court grand jury returned the indictment with the additional charges this week.
Grantham is accused of knowingly picking up a minor in Columbia County on or about July 20, 2019, and taking the minor across state lines to engage in prostitution. The indictment alleges that Grantham “recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, maintained, patronized, and solicited, by any means, in and affecting interstate commerce, Minor Victim 1, knowing and in reckless disregard of the fact that Minor Victim 1 had not attained the age of 18 years and that Minor Victim 1 would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act.”
Grantham remains in federal custody.
“It is extremely disheartening that these charges are against a teacher who parents trusted to have the best interests of their children at heart,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “These additional charges are the result of hard-working FBI investigators dedicated to protecting our children.”
An indictment contains only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tania G. Groover and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator Tara M. Lyons