The following press release has been issued by Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Murphy, NC— 39 year old John Elliott Pate, who listed a Kindard South Carolina address, was found guilty of a 2010 charge of Indecent Liberties with a Child in Cherokee County Superior Court on November 20th, 2013. Pate was sentenced by the Honorable Judge Gary Gavenus, following a two day trial, to a term of commitment of 16 – 19 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections and is required to register as a sex offender for a period of 30 years upon release from imprisonment Sheriff Keith Lovin announced.
In October 2010, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office was participating in Operation Western Shield, a multi-agency operation to identify and arrest individuals who sexually exploit children. During Operation Western Shield, Deputy Mitch Morgan and Deputy Helen Malinowski responded to a residence in the Hiwassee Dam Community to a reported domestic dispute. Deputies Morgan and Malinowski quickly recognized that a child at the residence had been the victim of a sexual assault and took immediate action resulting in the arrest of Pate. Following the arrest of Pate an in depth investigation was conducted by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office who worked in conjunction with the HAVEN Child Advocacy Center and the Cherokee County Department of Social Services.
Sheriff Keith Lovin commented “Through the alertness of the deputies and their quick response to a very serious crime a child was saved. The team approach in the follow on investigation demonstrates the resolve of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office in protecting all its citizens including our most valuable resource our youth.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s office is a member of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The ICAC Task Force is comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents. The purpose of the ICAC Task Force is to investigate complaints of child exploitation. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is a member of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (NCICAC) Task Force, and Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov .
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