Ga. man gets decades in prison after guilty plea for crossing state lines to have sex with teenager

The 11th Circuit Solicitor General of South Carolina said a Georgia man pled guilty to having sexual conduct with a minor after driving across state lines to meet up with a teenager. He’s now been sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison.

According to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, Michael Shawn Copson, 37 of Savannah, pled guilty on Thursday.

An investigation into Copson revealed in March 2022 that he’d been “consistently traveling from Savannah, Ga. to a Lexington County, S.C. home to visit acquaintances” for several months.

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For nine months, Copson maintained a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old, continuing until it was discovered and reported to members of law enforcement, the sheriff’s office said.

WOLO, an ABC affiliate in South Carolina, reported that “the investigation determined there were multiple occasions in which Copson purchased inappropriate gifts for the minor, intimidated her, and attempted to isolate her from her family.”

While being interviewed by investigators, Copson admitted to having illegal sexual contact with the juvenile, according to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office.


At a recent hearing, Copson pled guilty.

Describing grooming, the sheriff’s office said that grooming was when behaviors “often used by adult perpetrators to build a relationship of trust with a child in an effort to exploit or abuse the minor.

Assistant Solicitor Ashley Wellman explained that the grooming process attempts to normalize the abuse and obtain the child’s continued compliance,” the sheriff’s office reported.

Wellman also said that while Copson was not accused of physically coercing the victim into a sexual relationship with him, it was “by no means a consensual sexual relationship,” adding that the case was “a classic and egregious case of grooming.”

Copson was extradited from Georgia on Nov. 11, 2022, the sheriff’s office said. He remained in custody in Lexington County for the duration of the legal process.

Now that he’s pled guilty, the sheriff’s office said he’ll be transferred to the South Carolina Department of Corrections to serve a 28 year prison sentence.

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