Local barber arrested

Michael J. Cox, 64, of Anderson, was arrested on several sex-related crimes involving two minor boys.

ANDERSON — The president of a local shelter for homeless veterans has been charged on suspicion of several sex-related crimes involving two minor boys of unspecified age who worked for him.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Michael J. Cox, 64, 1000 block of East 53rd Street, Anderson, was arrested and charged Oct. 20 with sexual misconduct with a minor/fondling.

He also was charged with two counts of promotion of child sex trafficking, child solicitation, a felony charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, two counts of dissemination of material harmful to minors and a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is being held on $20,000 full cash bond.

Cox is president of Stepping Stones for Veterans Inc., 332 W. 11th St. Officials there were not available for comment.

According to the redacted affidavit, it was reported to police on Oct. 12 that two boys had been sexually assaulted by Cox at his home and at Mick’s Barber Shop, which he owns, at 2226 Main St.

The boys reported Cox paid them in cash, alcohol and marijuana in exchange for various sex acts. One of the boys alleged Cox bribed him with alcohol and marijuana for taking as many as six trips to Michigan with him. The Herald Bulletin does not identify victims of sex crimes or those close to them.

“He advises while in Michigan, Cox went to a dispensary and bought marijuana for him,” the affidavit said. “He advised that there were occasions when Cox would give him so much alcohol and marijuana that he would wake up the next day and not remember what had occurred.”

The juvenile also said Cox had multiple cameras all over his residence and videos of the other boy on his phone.

The older boy told forensic investigators at Kids Talk that Cox said he could wait for the younger boy to reach what he believed was the legal age of consent.

One of the juveniles also told investigators that Cox worked at an unspecified hotel in Anderson where he showed the boy different rooms, where sex acts also took place.

“(One of the boys) advised that Michael had given him marijuana to sell before,” the affidavit said. “He advised that he had also rode around with Michael when he was selling marijuana to different customers. He did advise that Michael sold marijuana out of his house and sometimes deal(s) it out of the barber shop.”

Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.

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