BCSO: Multi-agency investigation leads to conviction of sexual predator

Published 12:30 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2024

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On Jan. 27 2022, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a sex offense involving a 15-year-old minor.

During the investigation, it was discovered the victim, a 15-year-old female minor from Beaufort County had been solicited by defendant, 52 year old Jason Bernard of Springfield, Missouri.

Deputies learned the minor had been contacted by Bernard via Instagram and he solicited acts of child pornography. After the deputies were able to positively identify Bernard as the suspect, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of Homeland Security.

Federal Investigators built upon the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation and subsequently charged Jason Bernard with Sexual exploitation of a minor, Coercion/Enticement of a minor, and receipt/distribution of child pornography. Jason Bernard was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roseann A. Ketchmark to 30 years and five months in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Bernard to a lifetime of supervised release following incarceration and ordered him to pay $171,000 in restitution.

Beaufort County Sheriff Scott Hammonds encourages anyone with information regarding the exploitation or abuse of a child to contact the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office at (252) 946-7111. You can also submit tips anonymously by contacting Beaufort County Crime Stoppers at (252) 974-6400 or submit confidential tips online at www.p3tips.com/195. Crime Stoppers only wants your information, not your name.