CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – A Myrtle Beach man was convicted Thursday of sexually assaulting a woman in 2015 and sentenced to 24 years in prison.
According to a news release from 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson, David James Welch, 21, was found guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping.
The jury found Welch not guilty on charges of armed robbery and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
A judge revoked Welch’s probation on a prior conviction of strong-armed robbery for which he was sentenced to serve six years.
Welch had just met the woman he was found guilty of assaulting online before they agreed to meet in person. When they met, Welch tricked the victim into driving to an apartment complex, where he said he lived. He pointed a gun at the victim, forced her to have sex with him and then stole her purse and cell phone.
Police responded after the woman drove to Coastal Grand Mall, which was nearby, and called them. Authorities corroborated the woman’s story through her cell phone and Facebook records.
“My thanks goes to the officers with the Myrtle Beach Police Department and Detective Jeremiah Beam for their diligent work to bring justice in this case,” said Senior Assistant Solicitor Joshua D. Holford. “This is a cautionary tale about meeting someone online. There are several steps you should take if you are meeting someone for the first time to protect yourself.”
Those steps include:
- Meet in a public place
- Let friends and family know who you are meeting with, where you plan to go and what time you should return
- Give friends and family the person’s contact information
- Don’t be afraid to leave the situation if you feel uncomfortable with the person after meeting them
Welch was charged in an unrelated 2014 first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping incident that took place at Broadway at the Beach. Those charges remain pending.
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