Crime & Courts

2 SC men guilty of child pornography, one sentenced

A 53-year-old Catawba man has pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Ronal McAteer was charged after a March 11 search of his home by federal agents, the U.S. Attorney said. Agents found more than 1,000 images and 67 movies containing child pornography on his computer, according to reports, and McAteer admitted to sharing child pornography online.

McAteer could face a $250,000 fine and/or 10 years in prison, plus a special fine of $100. A date for the sentencing has not been set.

In a separate case announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a 39-year-old Rock Hill man was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to taking videos and pictures of four children engaged in sexual acts.

According to the U.S. Attorney, Michael Pearson, a registered sex offender, was a babysitter for the children, ages 2-10, in 2008 and 2009. In some of the videotapes, the children posed naked and engaged in sexual acts with Pearson, according to reports.

Pearson was convicted in 1999 of committing a lewd act on a child under 16, the U.S. Attorney said.

Pearson will be re-evaluated after serving his sentence, to determine whether he is a sexual predator who should be further committed.