Moore County man faces 30 counts of child exploitation charges

WEST END, N.C. (WTVD) -- A West End man is behind bars, facing 30 counts of felony child exploitation charges.

The Moore County Sheriff's Office arrested 62-year-old Gene Legrand Hickman after a lengthy undercover investigation.

Sheriff Ronnie Fields said it started with a tip submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding suspicious activity through Instagram.

Hickman was charged with 15 counts of felonious second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and fifteen counts of felonious third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

"It's not an easy job to work on cases where you are constantly and visually reminded of the various types of abuse children are exposed to at very early ages," Fields said. "The Moore County Sheriff's Office will continue to work aggressively to ensure that we are protecting our children from being targeted by these online predators."

Fields said the investigation is ongoing and more charges could be filed.

Hickman is being held on a $150,000 secured bond.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Moore County Sheriff's Office Crime Tip Line at (910) 947-4444.
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