Franklin man arrested in Georgia child sex sting remains in jail
FRANKLIN, N.C. (WLOS) —
Investigators said a Franklin man traveled to Georgia with the intent to meet a child for sex. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation charged 48-year-old William Pruitt with sexual exploitation of a child.
Pruitt was one of 21 men arrested in an undercover sting called "Operation Hidden Guardian."
Undercover investigators said they communicated on internet platforms with several subjects who were under the impression they were communicating with minors, and initiated the subject of sex. Investigators said, in some cases, the subjects introduced obscene content, sometimes introducing pornography or requesting the child take nude images for them.
Pruitt was employed as a custodian and substitute bus driver in Jackson County and as a substitute bus driver in Macon County. Both districts fired him after learning of the charges.
Officials in both districts said they know of no connection between Pruitt and their students.
His neighbors on Pannell Lane in Franklin said they were surprised but glad Pruitt was arrested.
“Amen,” Jeannie Lehtinen said. “We need more. We need more people speaking up and following through with it.”
Pruitt remains in the Columbus, Georgia, jail on $40,000 bond.
A check with the Macon County Clerk of Courts office shows Pruitt pleaded guilty to three attempted larcenies in Macon County in 1994 and wrote a couple bad checks. But there’s no history of sexual exploitation of minors.