FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Four people, including three from Horry County, were sentenced to prison Thursday following a multi-state child sex trafficking and child exploitation case last year.

The case involved activity spanning from Arizona to South Carolina, and victims from the Pee Dee and Midlands regions of South Carolina.

Theodore Woolings Bye, III, 36, of Myrtle Beach, was charged with conspiracy to sexually traffic a minor, sexual trafficking of minor, conspiracy to produce child pornography and to coerce and entice a minor, two counts of production of child pornography, two counts of coercion and enticement of a minor, and possession of child pornography.

He was sentenced to 293 months in prison.

Sanadin Mohamed Elrayes, 28, of Surfside Beach, and Charles Joseph Spillane, 44, of Myrtle Beach, was charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography and to coerce and entice a minor.

They were each sentenced to five years in prison.

Hart William Grow, 25, of Surprise, Arizona, was charged with conspiracy to sexually traffic a minor, sexual trafficking of minor, conspiracy to produce child pornography and to coerce and entice a minor, four counts of production of child pornography involving two victims, four counts of coercion and enticement of a minor involving two victims, and possession of child pornography.

He was sentenced to 327 months in prison.

An indictment alleges that, since at least April 2020, Grow and Bye conspired to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, maintain, patronize and solicit a minor victim in South Carolina to engage in a commercial sex act.

The record in the case alleges that Grow, from his home in Arizona and through the internet, misrepresented to various minors across the country that he was also a minor and was interested in a relationship.  In this case, Grow allegedly claimed to a minor victim that he was a 17-year-old female named “Hannah” living in Columbia, South Carolina.

Using this false persona and promising love and affection, Grow groomed the minor victim to fall in love with “Hannah.”  It was then, the indictment alleges, that Grow abused his position of trust with the minor victim to enter into a “sexual dominant/submissive relationship, to hold absolute power and control over the victim, and to employ bondage/discipline, domination/submission, and sadism/masochism (‘BDSM’) techniques.”

Threatening the minor victim if the victim did not obey his BDSM rules, Grow required the victim to engage in often-violent sexual acts with adult men that the victim did not otherwise wish to engage with.

According to Court records, Grow used message boards and social media to make his minor victim available to adult males for sexual encounters in exchange for the men sending visual depictions of the sexual encounters to him.  Specifically, Grow required the adult males to produce, or assist in the production of, a visual depiction of the often-violent sexual acts.  One such male, according to the indictment, was Bye.

The indictment alleged that Bye, with the assistance of Grow, not only participated in the sexual acts with the victim but also made the victim available for sex on numerous occasions to other men.  

According to the indictment, Bye would transport the victim to various locations in and around Myrtle Beach for commercial sex acts and would use internet message boards, social media and text messages to make the victim available to other adult males for sexual encounters.

This is not the first time Bye has been charged with sexual exploitation of a minor. In September 2020, Bye was arrested on 26 charges related to the sexual assault of minors.

The indictment further alleges that Elrayes and Spillane responded to Bye’s internet postings and, after communicating with Bye via social media and text messages, engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the minor.

According to the indictment, the visual depictions with Elrayes were created at a hotel in Surfside Beach, and the visual depictions with Spillane were created at his Myrtle Beach home.

The indictment also alleges that in early 2021, after Grow had trafficked the first minor victim, he began communicating with a second minor victim in South Carolina.  According to Court records, Grow coerced the second minor into producing visual depictions of sexually explicit conduct until shortly before his arrest in Arizona.

According to Court records, the defendants used social media applications, including Snapchat, Wattpad and Kik to communicate with the victims and with each other.  Grow used screen names, including “hgliese” and “hanners,” and aliases, including “Terry” and “Hannah,” when communicating with his victims.