Beaufort police are trying to figure out how three underage girls who ran away from home Sunday ended up at a house Monday on Woodward Avenue, where investigators say they were sexually assaulted by two Beaufort men.
Officers were called to the Woodward Avenue home at about 3:30 a.m. Monday after a relative of one of the girls told police the teens were being held there against their will and possibly being raped, according to Police Chief Matt Clancy. After receiving a text message from one of the girls, the relative believed the girls were frightened and in danger, Clancy said.
The teens had been reported to authorities Sunday as runaways from the Yemassee area.
Officers found the girls, ages 13 and 14, at the Beaufort house with 20-year-old Michael Allen Green and 25-year-old Bruce Edward Green, neither of whom lived there, Clancy said.
Both men were charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct and are being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center on $50,000 bond, according to the jail log. Clancy said claims that the girls were being kept against their will "have not been substantiated."
The teens were reunited with their families and taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital for further evaluation, authorities said.
Clancy said investigators had enough information to make an arrest but would not provide specifics about what led to the sexual-assault charges, citing the department's ongoing investigation.
"There are a lot of things we're trying to figure out," Clancy said. "We're still trying to figure out how they got to that house and how they know these people. I don't know if the interviews with the girls have been completed yet. The results of those interviews will determine whether there are additional charges."
A 17-year-old man who lived in the house and was there when officers arrived Monday was not charged, Clancy said.
"There's no evidence that he was involved in any of this," Clancy said.
If convicted, Bruce Green and Michael Green face up to 20 years in prison, according to state law.
Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.