LAURINBURG – A Scotland County couple have been arrested on numerous child sex abuse charges stemming from an investigation initiated by the Department of Social Services, authorities said on Wednesday.
Annie L. Johnson, 36, and Carlos Juan Gonzales, 36, both of the Hasty community, were arrested on a total of 21 counts of various charges related to the sexual assault of a child, according to Capt. Ruben Castellon, chief detective with the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.
“DSS started their own initial investigation and they had enough suspicions to forward it to us,” Castellon said.
Detectives received the report from the Scotland County Department of Social Services on Sept. 11. The couple were arrested on Sept. 21.
Authorities did not specify the number of victims. They said one was six years old.
Gonzales was arrested on one count of felony second-degree sexual offense, two counts of indecent liberties with a minor, three counts of felony child abuse sex act, and one count of sexual assault.
He is being held in the Scotland County Detention Center under a $1.5 million bond.
Johnson was charged with five felony counts of child abuse by sexual assault, eight felony counts of accessory after the fact indecent liberties, and one felony count of forcible sex offense.
She is being held in the Scotland County Detention Center under a $500,000 bond.
The investigation is ongoing and other charges may be added as victims are interviewed or if other victims come forward, Castellon said.
Department of Social Services could not comment on the case due to state restrictions, but Director April Snead said the department takes all allegations of abuse seriously.
“DSS responds to any report of abuse or neglect that meets the criteria set forth by general statute 7B, the juvenile code that determines what cases can be investigated,” Snead said.
Neither Johnson nor Gonzales have a criminal record. However, investigators are being cautious where Gonzales is concerned.
“We don’t know that is his real name. We are assuming that it is, but we’re not sure right now,” Castellon said.
The sheriff’s office contacted US Immigration and Custom Enforcement − ICE because Gonzales is alleged to be an illegal alien. ICE has placed Gonzales under a detainer hold.
An ICE detainer, or immigration hold, is used when an illegal immigrant is arrested by local authorities. It places an extra 48-hour hold on an individual after his or her release date in order to give ICE agents time to make a decision as to whether to detain the person for deportation.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169