PENDER COUNTY — A Hampstead man was charged Thursday on multiple counts of sex crimes involving underage children.
According to the Pender County Sheriff’s Office, its special victims units arrested Hampstead resident Christopher Allen McLeod, 40, with 20 felony counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor(s). PCSO said in a release its investigation proved McLeod was in possession of child pornography, both photos and videos.
The sheriffs office was tipped off from records from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that were reported to the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. It indicated that “McLeod accessed, stored and retained images of children engaged in sexual activities.”
The Carolina Beach Police Department assisted in the investigation. Officers found McLeod utilized fake identities and ages for several years when messaging multiple children via several social media apps.
McLeod is held currently under a $40,000 secured bond and will make his first court appearance Friday, Jan. 6 in Pender County District Court.
PCSO expects additional charges, as identities of more victims become available; the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding McLeod is encouraged to contact Detective-Sergeants Steve Clinard and Eric Short at 910-259-1437.
“Law enforcement Officers with the Pender County Sheriff’s Office continue to stress to parents and guardians to strictly monitor their children’s access to social media apps,” a PCSO noted. “The sheriff’s office offers tips to safeguard our county’s residents and their children. Pedophiles are extremely resourceful when it comes to the online enticement of children. We should be as resourceful in our efforts to stop them.”
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