PICKENS COUNTY - An ongoing investigation resulted in the Wednesday arrests of Joseph Pettigrew Sanders IV and Anita Jordan Gearhart on charges of sexual misconduct.
Sanders, 44, of Liberty, faces two Pickens County Sheriff's Office charges: second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and lewd act on a minor, according to warrants.
He is a former official with the Miss South Carolina Pageant. This makes the second arrest in only a month on similar charges, last time by Easley police.
"It is reported that Mr. Sanders committed a sexual battery and lewd act against a 12-year-old child earlier this year," according to a PCSO release.
The time frame for the charges, according to warrants, is between March 1 and April 1 of this year.
The child's mother, Gearhart, 52, of Easley, is charged with unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person, a warrant said.
"At the time of the sexual battery, the victim and her mother were living with Mr. Sanders, the release said.
After the child told her mother of the sexual battery, Gearhart continued to live with Sanders and "did nothing to protect her child against further abuse," the release said.
The mother threatened to kill herself if the child told authorities, according to a report.
On July 18, Easley police arrested Sanders on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and Gearhart on two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child. The incident is alleged to have taken place at the Comfort Inn on U.S. 123 sometime in 2005.
The victim was taken from the mother by the state Department of Social Services and placed into protective custody, according to an Easley report.
Sanders was released from the Pickens County Detention Center on a $20,000 surety bond and Gearhart was released on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond, the release said.