A Bluffton man who has faced allegations of inappropriate contact with children in the past was arrested Monday and charged with being a peeping tom.
Bret Holterman, 35, was booked into the Beaufort County Detention Center and was still being held there Tuesday morning, according to the detention center jail log.
The Bluffton Police Department responded to the Cypress Ridge community about 10 p.m. Monday after a complaint of a shirtless man in orange shorts peering into an adolescent boy’s window outside a house. According to the police report, the complainant’s spouse confronted the man and “asked him if he needed something.” At that point, the man ran around the back of the house.
The complainant told police the man “looked like ‘Holterman,’” who lives in the community. Officers went to his residence, and a female there told them Holterman was upstairs “changing his clothes.”
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Holterman, wearing khaki shorts and a black T-shirt came downstairs and began talking to the officers, according to the report. He told them he’d been wearing a different pair of khaki shorts before changing. Officers told him the female said he’d been wearing orange shorts, at which time he declined to talk further with officers without an attorney present, the report read.
Officers confiscated orange shorts from Holterman’s residence and placed him under arrest.
During the past two decades, Holterman has had several run-ins with law enforcement, including allegations of inappropriate behavior with children.
As a 17 year old in 2000, Holterman was charged with criminal sexual conduct involving two Hilton Head Island children, ages 3 and 4. But the charge was reduced to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature because of what 14th Circuit Court Solicitor Duffie Stone called a mistake on behalf of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
When asked in 2011 about the reduced charge, Stone told The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette that the Sheriff’s Office investigator didn’t read Holterman his Miranda rights before he confessed. Sheriff P.J. Tanner said Stone’s office could have used a written statement Holterman volunteered when he was a person of interest to pursue the original charge.
Holterman pleaded guilty to assault and battery, which kept his name off South Carolina’s sex offender registry and resulted in a sentence of five years of probation under the state’s Youthful Offender Act.
In subsequent years he violated the conditions of his probation and parole multiple times, which sent him to prison in both South Carolina and Alabama, according to court records.
He was released from a mental health facility in 2001 and moved to Alabama. There, Stone said Holterman violated his probation by failing to report his whereabouts. He was sent to prison and released in 2003, and also convicted in Alabama of felony credit card fraud, second-degree theft and reckless endangerment, according to court records.
In June 2004, he was the suspect in the attempted kidnapping and sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl vacationing on Hilton Head at a hotel where he worked. The girl could not positively identify the attacker and he wasn’t charged.
Two months later he pleaded guilty to second degree burglary.
In April 2006 he violated parole when he was caught in the yard of the two girls he was accused of sexually assaulting in 2000 — a court order required him to stay away from them and their families — and was sent back to prison.
In July 2011 he was arrested and charged with being a peeping tom in Bluffton’s Mill Creek community. That arrest and charge do not appear in the county’s online court index.
The Bluffton Police Department made that arrest, and department spokeswoman Joy Nelson said the Solicitor’s office would be the appropriate agency to comment on the case’s disposition.
When asked about that case, Solicitor’s office spokesman Jeff Kidd said, “We can’t comment on the criminal record of a person who has a pending matter before us.”
Two phone messages left Tuesday for Beaufort County Clerk of Court Jerri Ann Roseneau seeking comment were not returned.