UNION — A Buffalo man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to molesting two children in the early 1980s.
In a March 2016 press conference, Union County Sheriff David Taylor announced the arrest of James Craig McMillian, 62, 1249 Linersville Road, Buffalo, on two counts of committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 and one count of attempted lewd act upon a child under the age of 14.
Taylor said McMillian, who had been arrested that morning, was charged in connection with multiple incidents involving three victims that occurred between 1981 and 1986. He said at the time of the incidents the victims were children ranging in age from 7 to 13 years old. Taylor said the case was brought to the attention of his office on Feb. 23 of that year by Victims Advocate Michelle Shugart who he said advised him that one of the victims had revealed to her what had happened to him. He said he and Shugart went to the victim’s home that same afternoon and asked him if he would come to the Sheriff’s Office to meet with them. Taylor said when the victim arrived at the Sheriff’s Office he was “physically and emotionally shaken” about what he was disclosing.
Taylor said that during the interview that followed, the victim revealed the sexual abuse by McMillian that had occurred from 1981-1986. In addition, Taylor said that during the interview more potential victims were identified and that in the investigations that followed his office was able to make contact with two other known victims, both of whom said they’d been sexually abused by McMillian during the same time period as the first victim.
As for why this case was being reported 35 years later, Taylor said it was mainly because one of the victims had reached out for assistance by getting counseling as a result of the incident. Taylor said it was during the course of that effort that the victim revealed to Shugart what had happened and she in turn contacted him.
Taylor said that the investigation was continuing and there might be more victims and he urged those victims to come forward.
A little over a month later, in April 2016, McMillian would be arrested again for committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14.
Taylor announced McMillian’s second arrest, stating that another victim had come to the Sheriff’s Office and stated that when she was approximately 13 years of age, McMillian grabbed her in a sexual way and did so for his own personal gratification. In the statement announcing the fourth charge against McMillian, Taylor said that the victim was 46 years old and that the incident had occurred approximately 33 years earlier.
Now, a little over a year after his arrest, McMillian is in prison for crimes he admitted to committing against two of his accusers.
On Thursday, May 25, during a hearing in the Moss Justice Center in York before Circuit Court Judge John C. Hayes III, McMillian pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd act upon a child under the age of 14.
After accepting McMillian’s guilty plea, Hayes sentenced him to five years in prison suspended upon 18 months and three years probation on each count with the sentences to run concurrently. Upon his release from prison, McMillian will be required to register as a sex offender.
The other two charges against McMillian were dropped.
Deputy Solicitor John C. Anthony said the decision was made to drop two of the charges and allow McMillian to plead to the other two because of the age of the case.
“Given the risks of taking a case to trial that is over thirty years old, we believed the plea agreement was a good resolution to the case,” Anthony said in a statement released Tuesday.
While he was sentenced on May 25, McMillian, who had been out on bond, was not immediately taken into custody, but was instead allowed to turn himself in to the Union County Jail by no later than noon on Thursday, June 1, where he was to remain until he could be turned over to the SC Department of Corrections.
Taylor said Tuesday that McMillian was transported to the SC Department of Corrections in Columbia on Friday, June 2.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.