A Savannah man has been charged with criminal sexual conduct with a Bluffton minor after a five month investigation.
Justin Watts, 37, was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and criminal solicitation of a minor after he was extradited from the Chatham County Detention Center on Wednesday, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office news release.
Watts’ arrest stemmed from a report filed by the parent of a female Bluffton minor in August.
The parent reported finding multiple “sexually explicit chats” through social media apps the juvenile used on her phone, the release said.
Sheriff’s Office investigators met with the juvenile and learned she had been chatting with an adult male over the period of a week and had also allegedly met with him on one occasion and engaged in sexual activity, the release said.
The minor’s phone was seized by the Sheriff’s Office and submitted to its Computer Crimes Unit for analysis.
The Sheriff’s Office also subpoenaed records from the social media sites to help identify the male suspect, the release said.
The information they found led them to Watts, and warrants for his arrest were obtained last month, the release said.
Last week, Sheriff’s Office investigators met with the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. The police department then obtained an additional warrant to search Watts’ St. George Boulevard residence for electronic devices.
When the warrant was served, Watts was at the residence and arrested, the release said.
A cell phone, three laptops and various electronic storage devices were also seized, the release said.
Watts was taken to the Chatham County Detention Center and brought before a Georgia Superior Court judge on Tuesday when he waived his right to an extradition hearing.
He was brought to the Beaufort County Detention Center and booked on Wednesday morning, according to the jail’s website.
Watts is scheduled to appear before a Beaufort County magistrate judge on Thursday for a bond hearing.