ARIZONA NEWS

South Carolina man sentenced to prison for sex offenses related to 12-year-old Arizona girl

May 31, 2024, 1:00 PM

South Carolina man allegedly groomed 12-year-old Arizona girl...

Timothy Mikell Schultheis, 26, groomed his victim on Facebook, authorities said. (Photos: Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Pexels)

(Photos: Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Pexels)

PHOENIX — A South Carolina man was sentenced to 27 years in prison for charges relating to child sexual abuse on Thursday, according to Arizona authorities.

Timothy Mikell Schultheis, 26, drove from his home state to the city of Safford to meet his victim in 2022, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.

Prior to meeting up, he had groomed her over Facebook, prosecutors said.

Schultheis and his victim then drove back to South Carolina from Safford, which is around 165 miles southeast of Phoenix.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office arrested him on March 30, 2022. His victim was found unharmed in his apartment, the office said.

Schultheis pleaded guilty to transporting a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity on Jan. 10, 2024, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said.

After he serves his prison sentence, he will face a lifetime of supervised release. He will also have to register as a sex offender.

South Carolina man preyed upon young girls before, authorities say

The Arizona girl wasn’t the first minor Schultheis sexually preyed upon, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

He kidnapped two sisters, aged 10 and 12, from their home in South Carolina on Sept. 18, 2020, the office said.

Schultheis sexually assaulted the 12-year-old victim, the office said. He was jailed twice in the resulting investigation but quickly posted bail each time.

One of his bond conditions required him to wear an ankle bracelet, which he was wearing when authorities arrested him for kidnapping the Arizona girl in 2022, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

Arizona officials take extra step to prevent future child abuse

The Graham County Sheriff’s Office led the investigation in this case in partnership with the FBI in Sierra Vista.

FBI Phoenix Special Agent in Charge Akil Davis expressed relief over the sentencing.

“This sentencing puts a stop to Timothy Schulthies and his repeated offenses,” Davis said in a Thursday news release. “He can no longer hurt children or their families across the country.”

Authorities also want to ensure Schulthies can’t groom further minors over social media after he completes his sentence.

U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino said he’ll have a long time to reflect on his crimes. But if Schulthies doesn’t learn his lesson, safeguards are in place.

“Upon release decades from now, his supervised release conditions will restrict his use of smart phones and encryption technology to further protect the community,” Restaino said in the news release.

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South Carolina man sentenced to prison for sex offenses related to 12-year-old Arizona girl