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Loris HS volunteer coach, church youth director faces sexual battery with student charge

Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 2:05 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 13, 2021 at 5:58 PM EST
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LORIS, S.C. (WMBF) - A Loris High School coach was arrested on Monday morning after he was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Ronnie Barron Jr. is charged with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and sexual battery with a student.

Loris Police Chief Gary Buley says this whole investigation started after a parent found some disturbing images on their child’s phone and brought that phone to the police department.

“That’s how it all started,” said Buley. “The parent of the victim came in after observing the juvenile’s phone and noticing some activity that shouldn’t be going on.”

After an investigation, information was obtained and arrest warrants were issued for Barron.

Horry County Schools said the suspected relationship may have originated outside of school.

The school district added that Baroon was a volunteer baseball coach at Loris High School and has been a volunteer coach in the district since December 2020.

As of November 4, 2021, he is no longer affiliated with Horry County Schools, according to the district.

WMBF News also discovered that Barron was a youth director at the First Presbyterian Church in Loris. The church sent WMBF News a statement on Barron and the investigation:

“We have been made aware of the recent allegations of inappropriate conduct by our former youth director and have reported them to the appropriate authorities. The church leadership immediately accepted his resignation. We are cooperating in their investigation to the best of our ability. Given that this is an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further. We would welcome you to join us in prayer for all the involved individuals.”

“Nothing came out from the church,” said Buley. “It was definitely solo with the victim, that we’ve seen so far.”

After a month-long investigation, Loris Police arrested Ron Barron and charged him with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, which carries up to ten years in jail.

He is also charged with sexual battery with a student.

Buley wants to remind parents, no matter how much they trust their children, their safety on the internet is ultimately the parent’s responsibility until they turn 18. The Chief said this investigation started with one phone and grew into the biggest case they’ve had involving a juvenile under his command.

That’s why he’s hoping this arrest serves as a reminder to parents to make sure they’re keeping up with what their children are doing on those cell phones.

“You just never know. Check their social media, check their phones,” said Buley. “You just never know what they may be doing behind your back.”

Barron was released from J. Reuben Long Detention Center around 5:15 p.m. Monday after posting a $10,000 bond.

WMBF News will bring you updates as they come into our newsroom.

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