South Carolina judge charged with sexual assault of a minor

A South Carolina judge was arrested and charged by state authorities for committing sexual offenses against a minor who had inappropriate photos on his mobile phone. The accused faces charges of sexual exploitation of a minor in the second degree among other crimes he committed.

Renée Wunderlich, Director of Public Information for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) shared that Judge Johnny Ray Steele, 75, of Lancaster, faces serious charges against him.

Inappropriate photos of a minor were reportedly discovered on his mobile phone and he was warned to delete them. The lawyer told them that he did not have any more images in another place, but he ignored the indications of the authorities and did not erase anything.

Judge Steele was arrested by the Lancaster County Police on charges of sexual assault. In the arrest warrant provided to local news outlet WYFF4, the crimes against the minor occurred on August 5.

The court order also reads that the judge had 15 photographs saved on his cell phone where the minor was completely naked in explicit sexual positionswhich allegedly “served the purpose of sexual stimulation.”

Judge Steele has been in custody at the Lancaster County Detention Center since November 4, accused of sexual exploitation of a minor in the second degree, in addition to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in the third degree. He will remain in the place in which the date for his appearance is given and his sentence is pronounced.

Johnny Ray Steele is a Municipal Court judge in Fort Lawn, a city in Chester County of 962 people, according to the 2020 census, Renée Wunderlich reported.