JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A Jacksonville man has been charged with child trafficking and profiting from child prostitution.
Onslow County deputies arrested Harold Tanner Thursday afternoon and charged him with knowingly trafficking a disabled minor for sexual acts.
Arrest warrants obtained by 9OYS said 67-year-old Tanner allegedly encouraged a disabled child to participate in prostitution and held the child in sexual servitude.
Deputies said they arrested Tanner after they responded to a report of a runaway juvenile and found her at Tanner’s resident, where they said she asked for help to leave.
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said Tanner and the girl encountered each other online, and Tanner traveled to her home and drove her to his home in Jacksonville.
The runaway girl was returned to her family, deputies said.
Neighbors in the area said they are shocked that something like this was happening near them.
“He was a regular neighbor-type,” said Takeem Dennis, neighbor. “He had guests every once in a while, one car or two, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. Especially for it to be right next door and for no one, not even me to notice it — it’s very shocking.”
Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said the case is still under investigation.
“One human being cannot own another human being ever,” Miller said.
Miller said there is not yet a timeline for when more information will be released.
Tanner has been charged with two counts of felony profiting from prostitution of someone who is mentally disabled, felony human trafficking of a child, felony sexual servitude of a child and two counts of misdemeanor keeping a place for prostitution.
Warrants list him as disabled and unemployed.
Tanner remains in custody at the Onslow County Jail under a $350,000 bond and is due back in court December 22.
Very few neighbors in the area said they even knew Tanner, saying he mostly kept to himself and was quiet.