Washington man facing sex-crime charges

Published 7:28 pm Thursday, August 28, 2008

By Staff
SBI followed a tipfrom national hot line
Newsroom Manager
A Washington man, indicted by a Beaufort County grand jury on 11 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, was arrested Wednesday.
Lawrence Franklin Keech, a resident of 220 E. Second St. in Washington, was indicted Monday. He was arrested by Bruce Kennedy, a State Bureau of Investigation agent.
A Beaufort County magistrate released Keech after he posted a $25,000 unsecured bond.
The case is centered on “third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor or a child for uploading child pornography on the Internet” by Keech, said Noelle Talley, an SBI public information officer.
The SBI began an investigation of Keech in January 2008, after it received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Talley said.
Keech was employed at the Washington Daily News from May 31, 1994, to Feb. 7, 2008.
Sonia Privette, Keech’s attorney, said Wednesday that she expects Keech’s first court appearance on the charges will be held during the Oct. 6 administrative session of Beaufort County Superior Court. Typically, the court sets a case in motion at an administrative session.
According to the bill of indictment handed down by the grand jury, each of the 11 counts read that on or about Feb. 4, 2008, Keech “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did possess material containing a visual representation of a minor, a female child, name unknown, being of a prepubescent age, engaged in sexual activity, consisting of a photograph containing a prepubescent female.”
The counts are differentiated by the fact that each count contains a specific alleged sexual activity.
Each count states that Keech knows “the material’s character and content.”