Crime & Courts

SC guitarist faces child pornography charge

A former guitarist of Wicked Lester, the rock and roll band that preceded Kiss, was arrested in Beaufort County on Friday, accused of uploading child pornography.

Stephen Coronel, 63, of Bluffton was charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor following a search of his Plantation Pointe apartment, Sgt. Robin McIntosh of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies seized a number of electronic devices and other evidence, McIntosh said. Additional details were not available Friday, McIntosh said, citing the pending forensic analysis of evidence.

The investigation began when the U.S. Department of Justice's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force determined child pornography had been uploaded from a home in Bluffton, McIntosh said.

The task force and Sheriff's Office tracked the material to Coronel's home.

In 1970 and 1971, Coronel was a member of New York-based band Wicked Lester before members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley left to form Kiss.

Wicked Lester did not release an album, though Coronel helped write several songs that later appeared on Kiss albums.