The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s deputy who was arrested and fired after being accused of inappropriate contact with an underage girl, using the alias “Redneck Rick,” has pleaded guilty to a crime, according to multiple reports.
Chris Wilbanks, who lives in Newberry County, has pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor, according to wspa.com.
U.S. District Court documents filed on Oct. 26 state Wilbanks entered a guilty plea in connection with the indictment, according to foxcarolina.com.
He was charged with coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for photos or video, according to an affidavit.
A federal district attorney said the incidents took place while the former Spartanburg County deputy was on duty, according to foxcarolina.com.
Wilbanks has not been sentenced yet, according to wspa.com.
In February, goupstate.com reported that police in Washington state responded to a woman whose 11-year-old daughter received inappropriate communications on her phone, court records state. The communications were sent on Kik, a photo and video messaging app.
On Jan. 3, the girl received messages from a user called “Redneck Rick,” court records state. The user claimed to be a 14-year-old boy who went to the girl’s school.
During the course of the investigation, it was determined “Redneck Rick” was Wilbanks’ profile on Kik, investigators said in court documents.
Those documents say Wilbanks asked the girl for photos of her wearing athletic apparel and a swimsuit. Eventually, Wilbanks asked for nude photos of the girl, court records state.
The girl refused at first, but Wilbanks told her he would show the photos to other people unless she sent more, according to the court records.
Court records indicate the girl was visibly upset and crying in several of the images. Wilbanks told her not to look so upset and to smile, according to those records.
In all, the girl sent 22 photos to Wilbanks, half of which were nude or partially clothed, the records state.
Goupstate.com reported that Wilbanks joined the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office in 1998, according to the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy, whose records showed he had no prior disciplinary actions.