South Carolina deputy arrested after allegedly attempting to solicit a child for sex

Derek Vandenham

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina deputy was arrested after allegedly walking into an undercover sting operation targeting people trying to have sex with a child, WIS reports.

The sheriff’s office teamed up with other agencies to carry out Operation: Relentless Guardian.

Derek Vandenham, 34, who was a deputy with Richland County Sheriff’s Department since 2015, was one of 14 people who traveled to meet up with young girls for sex only to discover the young girls were actually undercover law enforcement officers, Vandenham’s colleagues.

Nine others did not show up, and officials are trying to track them down to arrest them.

Vandenham was charged with criminal solicitation of a minor and second degree attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Across the 14 arrests, the sheriff’s office charged men with crimes including soliciting sex from an undercover deputy, traveling to a location for the purpose of having sex, soliciting young girls for sex and sending nude photos, WIS reports.

“I am disgusted by this deputy’s attempted actions, which is why I had him stripped of his gun and badge, and fired immediately,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said. “And I’ll recommend his certification be revoked so he never works in law enforcement again.”

Vandenham was taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

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