WEST COLUMBIA — A West Columbia police officer was arrested this week, charged with sending explicit photos of himself to a teenaged girl in Iowa.
Andrew Alan Haney, 30, was charged with interstate commerce of obsence materials to a person under 16 and is set to appear in a Richland County courtroom at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. He has been appointed a public defender.
According to a criminal complaint sworn in the Southern District of Iowa by a Pleasant Hill Police Department officer, Haney was involved in chatting with a 13-year-old girl in Polk County, Iowa.
Between Sept. 22 and Sept. 28, Haney and the girl chatted about a number of topics, the complaint said. He asked her for photos, and she sent several of herself in her underwear, the complaint said, and he sent several explicit photos of himself to the teen.
The Pleasant Hill officer was led to Haney and the West Columbia Police Department by the photos he sent to her, according to the complaint. In one photo, the state seal of South Carolina was visible on the suspect’s badge. In another photo, West Columbia Police was visible on the side of a patrol car. The officer called West Columbia, speaking with Chief Dennis Tyndall and sharing photos. That led to the suspect’s arrest.
Haney was fired Tuesday, according to Deputy Police Chief Matt Edwards.
“It hurts bad. It just breaks your heart,” Edwards said of dealing with such cases.
According to the West Columbia Police Department Facebook page, Haney graduated from the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy in May 2012.