South Carolina – Leroy Lawrence Bolger, Jr., a 75-year-old man from Kingsland, Georgia, received a federal court sentence exceeding three years after entering a guilty plea to traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a case involving an undercover operation targeting online offenders.
Undercover Operation Leads to Arrest
In early March 2022, an undercover investigation was spearheaded by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including Homeland Security Investigations. This operation was aimed at targeting online sexual offenders. A key strategy involved an officer posing as an adult male online, supposedly looking for individuals to have sex with his 13-year-old daughter residing in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Bolger responded to this internet advertisement and initiated sexually explicit conversations, expressing a desire to engage in various sex acts with the officer’s purported 13-year-old daughter. The discussions that ensued between Bolger and the undercover officer were pivotal in the ensuing legal actions.
On March 1, 2022, Bolger drove from Georgia to South Carolina to meet the so-called father and daughter. His intention was to engage in illegal sexual conduct with the young girl. However, upon arrival, Bolger was met not by the father-daughter duo he expected but by law enforcement officers, leading to his immediate arrest. During the legal process, Bolger admitted his intention to engage in sexual conduct with the minor.
Bolger’s background as a retired teacher and athletics coach, having a substantial 38-year career in education in North Carolina and Florida, added a layer of gravity to his actions. United States District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks handed down a sentence of 46 months in prison, followed by a lifetime of court-ordered supervision, reflecting the seriousness of the offense. There is no parole in the federal system.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, initiated in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice. This nationwide effort aims to address the increasing crisis of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Spearheaded by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division, the project unites resources at the federal, state, and local levels. Its goal is to effectively locate, arrest, and bring to justice those who exploit children sexually and to aid in identifying and rescuing the victims. Additional information about Project Safe Childhood can be found at http://www.justice.gov/psc.