YORK COUNTY, S.C. — A man who worked alongside FBI agents to help protect them is now accused of paying a Cleveland County mother to sexually assault her son with disabilities.
Some neighbors in the York County neighborhood where Joseph Tippett lived said they saw his arrest late last month and heard of the charge — criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
But resident Rosa Leger said she was shocked to learn Tippett reportedly paid the Cleveland County mother for sex with her teenage son.
“It’s scary. It’s really scary,” Leger said. “This is big. You have kids biking in the street. It’s a lot of kids in this area. To think, something this terrifying has happened to a child not that far away.”
Tippett worked for a firm providing security for the FBI and federal buildings. According to the arrest warrant, the FBI contacted local law enforcement the investigation and went with investigators to the mother’s home near King’s Mountain.
Documents show that while the mother was speaking with investigators, she admitted she knew Tippett, who used an alias, was taking her son for sex. Officials said he paid $30 to $40 at a time, totaling $250.
It began when her son, who has a developmental disability, was 15 years old.
According to the warrant, her son stayed sometimes two to three weeks at Tippett’s home with a security camera mounted in the window.
Officials said the mother is now charged with human trafficking. Tippett is now the subject of a federal investigation by the agents he once worked for.
The Counter Trafficking Data Collaborative found that family members trafficking their own children does happen.
It said about 40% of child human trafficking cases began with a family member. Only 36% of those cases involved sexual exploitation.
Officials said bout 28% of those trafficked by family members are boys.
If you or someone you know is at risk of human trafficking, you can call the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or you can text 233-733.
It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.