23-year-old charged in Fort Mill sex case

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comMarch 4, 2014 

Addison Harold Pittman

— There was no way a Fort Mill mother of three was going to let the grown man – who sneaked into her daughter’s bedroom Sunday to have sex with her – leave the house the same way he came in.

Minutes after he finished having consensual sex with the 15-year-old, Addison Pittman tried to leave through the same bedroom window he used to get inside the house at 2 a.m., the girl’s mother said.

The mom wasn’t having it. Enraged, she instructed her oldest daughter, 29, to grab her gun. It was a BB gun, “but he didn’t know that,” she said.

Until officers arrived, the mother held her black, long barrel, unloaded BB gun at Pittman, leading him out of her daughter’s bedroom.

“Please ... please do not send me to jail,” the mother said, quoting Pittman. “I said, ‘You should’ve thought about that before you entered my home, into my 15-year-old’s bedroom. Whatever happens now, you deserve.’ 

Deputies arrived at the woman’s home, off Munn Road near Fort Mill High School, at about 3 a.m. after they received a call about a possible burglary, according to a York County Sheriff’s report.

Authorities identified the suspect as 23-year-old Pittman. At gunpoint, Pittman told the girl’s mother he was 17. The daughter told deputies she and Pittman “had been in contact” for about five months, the report states. She knew he was 23, and he knew she was 15.

The mother, who is not being named to protect the identity of her daughter, told The Herald on Tuesday that she recently learned her daughter and Pittman met on Kik, an instant messenger found on smart phones.

On Sunday, the girl told deputies she and Pittman just “chilled” in the bed, kissing but not having sex, the report states. Pittman initially told deputies he did not learn the girl was 15 until Sunday, maintaining that he and the girl only kissed and were in bed together, but “nothing else.” He said he knew the girl for only a month.

But when deputies questioned both Pittman and the girl a second time, they admitted that they had sex. Deputies arrested Pittman, charging him with third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, a felony. He faces up to 10 years in prison. He was released from jail Monday on a $15,000 bond.

That leaves little comfort for the mother and her family, who fear Pittman might try to contact the girl and persuade her not to appear in court. The 15-year-old is an honors student, her mother said, who takes only advanced placement classes. The girl made a mistake, her mother said, and is being punished for it. For the next two months, she’s grounded.

Her cell phone has been confiscated and her computer is gone. Most of all, her bedroom window is securely shut: “Nobody will be getting in these windows,” the mother said.

“It’s not a light matter,” she said, adding that she wants stricter charges levied against online predators, even first-time offenders. Pittman, who lives in Charlotte, has no criminal history in North or South Carolina, records show.

If not for police intervention, Pittman “would’ve gotten beat up,” the girl’s mom said. “I think I would’ve beaten him to a pulp. ...I wanted to. I wanted five minutes with him. I asked the officer to please give me five minutes, that’s all I wanted. And, I would’ve put him in the hospital.”

The mother said she’s always monitored her daughter’s online activity, but has realized that all websites that appear safe are not. She advocates that parents learn all they can about the latest technology, just like the predators.

“As times change, we have to change,” she said. “These are kids with no real idea of how grown-ups think and they still make bad decisions ... they don’t realize how many perverts and sick people there are. That’s why we’re here as parents ... to protect you.”

There is no “magic button or program” that will keep kids safe from online dangers, said Chip Payne, commander of the state Attorney General’s Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force. Social media websites, such as Kik, are not inherently dangerous, he said.

“It’s just like any other tool,” he said. “A saw, a hammer all have positive uses, but can be used in a negative way.”

Children are encouraged not to befriend people they don’t know, and not to set up meetings with online strangers.

Parents “don’t necessarily have to be up on all the technology,” but do need to communicate with their children, said Marah Strickland of the attorney general’s office. “The best thing to do is to communicate with your child about their activity online ... know their passwords; ask them who they’re friends with; know all their friends on their social media sites.”

The Fort Mill mother and her family hope their daughter’s story might encourage others who might have been involved with Pittman to come forward. “I thank God he did not lure her away from home,” she said. “It wasn’t any better that he was in my home, but here I can protect her.”

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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