Charge: Newton Grove man traded for sex with teen
Posted July 8, 2011 6:53 p.m. EDT
Updated July 8, 2011 9:26 p.m. EDT
Newton Grove, N.C. — The Johnston County Sheriff's Office arrested two people Friday and expected to arrest a third on charges they conspired to victimize a teen.
Deputy Chief Bengie Gaddis said authorities were tipped off in February that Johnny Franklin Thornton, 62, of 8281 Harper House Road, was having relations with an underage girl. Investigators found he had been trading gifts and food in exchange for access to a girl who was 15 at the time. The relationship spanned eight months, from September of 2010 until May.
Thornton faces 12 charges of statutory rape, two counts of conspiracy, and one count each assault on a female and assault by strangulation.
Thornton's daughter-in-law, Tina Tucker Thornton, of 2321 Mount Olive Highway in Newton Grove, was arrested on a charge of conspiracy, Gaddis said.
The 15-year-old victim in the case is being cared for by relatives, authorities said.