Former youth leader on bond for sex crimes arrested again in York County

A former church youth leader in South Carolina who was arrested last year for multiple sex crimes against children has been arrested again after another victim spoke out to investigators.

William Pinckney Carpenter III was arrested on Monday for criminal sexual conduct with a minor, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. It came just a year after his initial arrest on previous child sex crime charges.

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Warrants obtained by Channel 9 say a victim reported that Carpenter inappropriately touched her during a bus ride to a church event. The victim said she was 8 or 9 years old at the time. The warrant didn’t say which church the two were attending, but it said it happened in York between fall 2017 and spring 2018.

According to court documents, the victim said the suspect was missing one of his fingers. Investigators found that Carpenter was missing the thumb of his left hand, and the victim was able to identify him in January from a photo lineup.

Jail records show Carpenter was booked into custody in York County and was released on $60,000 bond hours later Monday.

Earlier arrests

Last year, Carpenter was arrested for multiple counts of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct and sexual conduct with a minor. He had been released on bonds totaling more than $150,000 while those charges were pending trial.

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Those allegations happened from 2016 to 2021, search warrants show. Some of the victims in those cases were as young as 7 years old. At that time, Eastview Baptist Church pastor Rev. Chris Mitchell sent a statement to the Rock Hill Herald saying that Carpenter was no longer affiliated with the church.

Before that arrest, police first charged Carpenter last year after he was accused of molesting children he met at Grace Chapel Baptist Church. It’s less than 20 minutes away from Eastview Baptist Church.

“That’s a horrible thing to even think about -- what the parents must be going through -- what the child must be going through,” said Jessica Hatfield, who lives in York, not far from Grace Chapel.

According to arrest warrants, those allegations stem from 2017 to 2020 and involve kids as young as 8 years old.

Carpenter was a youth leader at both churches.

“I can’t imagine like my kids go to church and something like that happened,” Hatfield said. “I can’t imagine.”

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