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GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A Republican candidate for the South Carolina State Senate apparently has been charged in a child pornography investigation, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

A man of the same age, name and address as Frederick Eugene Wall was charged in February 2017 with 16 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, The Greenville News reported, citing records from Greenville County court and the State Law Enforcement Division.

Wall told the newspaper he has no criminal background. The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday on whether the man charged is the candidate.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Ryan Flood confirmed to the newspaper last Friday that a man named Frederick Eugene Wall was among more than a dozen men charged last July in connection to an investigation involving internet crimes against children. But he wouldn’t say whether it was the candidate. He gave the same answer to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

“It would be inappropriate at this point,” Flood told the newspaper. “He’s just been charged and has not been convicted.”

Wall the primary candidate has declined to answer questions on the charges and wouldn’t immediately provide a photograph of himself to The Greenville News.

“You’re cruising for a bruising, son,” The Greenville News quoted Wall as saying to a reporter who called him. “I can’t explain it, and I’m not going to. And you don’t have to ask a thing.”

Wall is challenging incumbent Garry Smith for the county’s state House District 27 seat. The primary election is next week.


Information from: The Greenville News,