Beaufort News

Marine accused of molesting 3-year-old girl

Brandon Sands
Brandon Sands

A Beaufort Marine was arrested Wednesday after being accused of molesting the 3-year-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend.

Port Royal Police charged Cpl. Brandon Lashun Sands, 26, with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor after the child told her mother that Sands touched her inappropriately Monday night in the family's apartment on Southside Boulevard in Port Royal, according to a police spokesman.

Lt. Ron Wekemann said Sands was at work Tuesday at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort when the child's mother confronted him about the incident in a text message.

Sands and the woman exchanged several text messages before Sands wrote "I'm sorry, I'm a terrible person," and "I'm evil," Wekemann said.

The child's mother contacted military police, who took Sands into custody Tuesday, according to Port Royal Police.

During a meeting Wednesday with investigators from Port Royal Police and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Sands confessed to the crime and was arrested, Wekemann said.

He was being held Thursday at the Beaufort County Detention Center, according to the county's jail log.

Information on Sands' bond was unavailable Thursday.

Sands has served in the Marine Corps for five years and is assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron at MCAS Beaufort, where he works as an aircraft rescue firefighter, said Lt. Sharon Hyland, air station spokeswoman.

"All Marines are held to the highest standard, and any allegations of misconduct are taken very seriously," Hyland said in a statement. "The Marine Corps is working closely with local authorities to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted."

Hyland said no decision been made as to whether Sands will be allowed to remain in the Corps as a result of Wednesday's arrest.

If convicted, Sands faces up to 30 years in prison, according to state law.