By R. Darren Price, The State (Columbia, S.C.) –
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina man being sued by a female college student who said he surreptitiously filmed them having sex and then sold the video online is now facing criminal charges.
Harold “Tripp” Worthy III, 26, of Cayce, S.C., was arrested Friday and charged with one count each of voyeurism and aggravated voyeurism. Police in Cayce accuse the man of making and selling a sex tape with a College of Charleston student he took to a nightclub in Columbia’s Vista area on New Year’s Eve 2011.
Worthy was released Friday on bond totaling $25,000 for the charges.
The woman told police that she and her boyfriend found a sex tape recorded without her knowledge at Worthy’s home on New Year’s Eve 2011, according to incident reports. She and Worthy met online while she was still in high school, and the two chatted online for several months, according to Charleston court records.
The woman said Worthy invited her to a “VIP” section of the nightclub. He bought her several drinks and took her to his home in Cayce at the end of the night.
She said in her suit she had five drinks and went to his house and the two had sex. She said she and Worthy went to breakfast and a movie the next morning and then she went back to Charleston. She said the two stayed in contact for part of the spring, but she stopped talking to him after she received some odd messages from him.
She told police she was contacted by a Coastal Carolina student on Sept. 25 who said that she had been featured online in a sex tape with Worthy. The College of Charleston student and her boyfriend said they searched for about an hour before they found the video on the site Chaturbate.com, and paid $50 to watch it.
The College of Charleston student filed a report Sept. 26 with Cayce police.
Police received a similar account from the Coastal Carolina student about 2 a.m. the same day. That woman told police she had sex at Worthy’s house in August and later saw posts on Worthy’s Twitter feed promoting pornographic videos he made with other women. She told investigators that she contacted some of Worthy’s partners, including the College of Charleston student, and discovered that they didn’t know the man had filmed their encounters.
The Coastal Carolina student also told police she thought that she had been taped having sex with Worthy without her knowledge at his Cayce home but didn’t want to press charges. She told investigators that Worthy was about to go on the CBS reality TV show “Survivor.”
Cayce police obtained a search warrant for Worthy’s home in early October and seized his computer, hard drives and any other electronics they could find, department spokesman Jeff Simmons said. A forensic specialist is going through Worthy’s digital media, but Simmons said he is unsure if the videos are still online. The investigation is ongoing, he said Thursday.
South Carolina law defines voyeurism as purposefully recording someone without their knowledge in a place where they have reasonable expectation of privacy and is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $500 fine. Aggravated voyeurism is distributing or selling a record made of a person without that person’s consent. That crime is a felony punishable by up to 10 years behind bars and a fine of up to $5,000.