GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WMBF) – A Georgetown man was sentenced to life in prison after he admitted to sexually assaulting a 6-year-old child and recording it on his cellphone.
Brandon Coakley, 32, pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and second-degree domestic violence, according to Alicia Richardson, the deputy solicitor who prosecuted the case.
Coakley’s trial was scheduled to begin Monday morning, but he decided to plead guilty before it got underway.
Authorities said the child’s mother discovered the video of the assault on Coakley’s cellphone back in Nov. 2018 while she was using it for another purpose. The video showed the assault happened while the child’s mother was at work.
The 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office said the mother confronted Coakley about the video, and he assaulted her in front her children to try and prevent her from reporting the assault.
The mother was able to escape with the children and the cellphone and called the Georgetown Police Department to report it, according to authorities.
Coakley was arrested three day later in Horry County after an anonymous tip led officers to his location.
“The Georgetown Police Department did a very thorough investigation and all officers and agencies involved treated the child and this child’s family with compassion. This was truly a team effort in getting justice for this young child. The mother’s quick actions in immediately reporting the assault and fighting to preserve the cellphone evidence were crucial in the successful prosecution of this case,” Richardson said.
Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Culbertson sentenced Coakley to life in prison for the sexual assault and three years for the domestic violence charge. The sentence will run concurrently, and it was the maximum penalty for each charge.
“The young child was truly amazing and demonstrated such bravery through the investigation and prosecution of this case,” Richardson said. "The child’s mother, father, and other family members were with the child every step of the way and fully cooperated with authorities.