York County, SC — The students at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC likely felt secure when they saw University police officer Charles Eugene Price in his uniform patrolling the campus. However, they no longer feel that way now after the announcement of his arrest along with a slew of charges related to the repeat abuse and sexual torture of multiple children.
"I think it's really scary especially because those are the people who are supposed to be protecting us and helping us," said student Nikki Delissio.
Scary indeed. According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the alleged child predator officer was arrested on October 16. He was initially charged with just two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with Minor under 11 years of age first-degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct first-degree. However, after further investigation, that has since changed.
SLED has since tacked on dozens more charges as the investigation continues and hit Price with 49 additional charges related to the investigation. The charges he is facing are as follows.
- 9 counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with Minor under 11 years of age first-degree
- 13 counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with Minor victim 11 to 14 years of age second-degree
- 8 counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct third-degree
- 1 count of Kidnapping
- And 18 other charges, bringing the total number of charges to 52.
Upon news of his arrest, the university immediately fired him and issued a statement.
"Upon being notified of the open criminal investigation and due to the seriousness of the allegations, the police officer was immediately relieved of his badge, credentials, and duty weapon," a university spokesperson said in a statement. "Subsequently, the police officer was placed on suspension without pay and escorted off Winthrop University property."
Recommended for You
The department is also moving to have his law enforcement certification suspended and withdrawn.
According to SLED, the charges stem from crimes committed as far back as 2007. According to warrants, victims told investigators that Price had sexually abused them several times, including assaults in which he handcuffed, beat or strangled them.
Price was known at the university as "Chuck" to the students and staff who were reportedly horrified when they learned of the news. He's been a police officer since 2004.
University officials were quick to distance themselves from Price and noted that none of the criminal incidents happened on their property or when the officer was on duty working for the university.
"At this time, neither WUPD’s Internal Affairs investigation nor SLED’s criminal investigation, has uncovered any evidence that these criminal incidents occurred on Winthrop University property or as part of the former police officer’s official duty as a law enforcement officer," the university spokesperson said in a statement.
They also pointed out that upon hearing of the SLED's investigation, that they conducted their own investigation and did nothing to protect the officer.
"WUPD and Winthrop University want to assure the public that upon being initially notified of the situation, swift action was undertaken to ensure the continual safety and protection of the campus and the community," a Winthrop University spokesperson said in a statement.
Currently Price is being held in a Lancaster county jail and has been denied bail due to the serious nature of his crimes. It is unknown when he is due back in court.