LANCASTER, S.C. — A former school resource officer is in the Lancaster County Detention Center, and South Carolina state agents say he's accused of performing a sex act on camera as a minor watched.
The Lancaster Police Department initially confirmed 34-year-old Justin'e Hatfield was in custody after a complaint was brought to their attention. However, the department did not share the specifics about the investigation or charges, deferring WCNC Charlotte to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). The department did, however, confirm Hatfield is a former officer and has not been employed by the department since April 4.
On Thursday, SLED confirmed more details to WCNC Charlotte. According to warrants released by the agency, Hatfield is accused of performing a sex act on camera during a live video chat on Instagram on May 13. Hatfield reportedly knew the victim was under the age of 18 when it happened.
Editor's note: WCNC Charlotte has reviewed the warrants in this case. Out of compassion for the victim, we are choosing not to fully describe the alleged sex act.
A screen-recorded copy of the video was provided to the police department, and SLED's warrants indicate officers who knew Hatfield were able to identify him.
SLED said he remains in jail and bond has been set. He is now charged with two counts of criminal solicitation of a minor.
The Lancaster County School District confirmed they were aware of the investigation and provided this statement to WCNC Charlotte:
We are aware that there is an ongoing law enforcement investigation concerning a former School Resource Officer who once was assigned to one of our schools. We do not know the full scope or breadth of the investigation and therefore cannot comment on it. School Resource Officers are not employed by the school district nor supervised by the district. They are employees of the law enforcement agency they represent.
We will continue to monitor this situation and cooperate with any law enforcement investigation as requested. No further comment will be made at this time. We will defer to the investigating law enforcement agency for any specific information released. Our main concern stays focused on any victim of a crime and their mental and physical well-being.
WCNC Charlotte also learned Hatfield was hired as the Event & Promotions Manager for the City of Lancaster on April 4, 2022, when he left the police department. In a statement, city administrator Steven Hutfles confirmed Hatfield was no longer employed by the city as of Wednesday, May 25.
Note: WCNC instituted a new policy in March 2021 regarding the broadcast or posting of mugshots.
WCNC will only air or post a mugshot if the person has been formally charged with a crime and in a few other cases. The exceptions include: If it appears the person could be a danger to themselves or others or if they are wanted by authorities; to differentiate between people with a common name; if the photos could encourage more victims to come forward. The news-editorial leadership may also decide to use a mugshot based on the severity of the crime(s) committed and/or the level of public interest in the crime and ensuing criminal proceedings.
Hatfield's mugshot has not been made available by authorities as of writing. When and if it is provided, WCNC Charlotte will add it.
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