Local college professor, 9 others arrested on child sex crime charges

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Ten people, including a college professor, were charged with sex crimes against children.

An operation called Vigilant Shepherd was launched in York County but covered the entire Charlotte area.

Vigilant Shepherd involved agencies, including the FBI, Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, CMPD and several sheriff's offices in South Carolina.

[ALSO READ: Attorney warns of sexual predators as children return to class]

York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson called those who were charged potential predators, who were arrested when police said they solicited undercover officers for sex.

Officers posed as children online to catch the alleged predators.

Five of the suspects drove to Fort Mill to try to meet them.

The suspects, who are from Rock Hill, Charlotte, Lincolnton, Mooresville and as far as Virginia, were charged with child sex crimes.

Police wouldn't discuss their tactics but explained how the suspects made contact with them.

"Officers were online in numerous social media apps and were contacted by these people," Tolson said.

A stack of arrest warrants included charges of criminal solicitation of minors, sharing obscene material and promoting the prostitution of minors.

Michael Bovino, 38, who was an associate professor at Davidson College, was arrested.

Channel 9  contacted Davidson College for a statement Wednesday but did not get a response. The college website no longer lists Bovino as a faculty member.

The investigation also uncovered child victims.

>> Reading this story in our app? The new "Follow the Lead" feature allows you to tap the blue tag indicated with a '+' to subscribe to alerts on the very latest breaking news updates.

At least seven victims either had contact with a suspect or were contacted by one of them.

Investigators are trying to identify those children now.

Tolson said parents need to know what their kids are doing on their phones and to randomly check them.

Authorities said the operation isn't over, and they expect several more arrests.

Comments on this article