Owner of Rowan aircraft charter company charged with sex offenses involving child; business closing

Updated: Nov. 21, 2019 at 7:19 AM EST
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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - An aircraft charter company that moved to Mid-Carolina Regional Airport in 2015 is terminating its lease according to county officials, and WBTV has learned that the owner is in jail in Georgia on a long list of sex crimes charges.

Steven Robert Setzer, listed as the owner of Strategic Moves in 2015, is in jail in Chatham County, GA. Pooler, GA, police charged Setzer in May with enticing a child for indecent purposes, sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated child molestation, sodomy, and statutory rape.

According to the incident report, Setzer was seen walking out of a wooded area near a Georgia church with a 14-year-old boy on May 20. The teen originally told police several contracting stories, the report states. When officers went to the area the two had come from, they found used condoms on the ground.

Both Setzer and the teen were taken to the Pooler Police Department to be interviewed and Setzer was ultimately arrested on the charges.

Strategic Moves ceased operations at the end of October and will vacate its hangar lease agreement because of “financial difficulties and the loss of clients," according to The Salisbury Post.

The Strategic Moves web site has the following statement: Thank you for your patronage and loyalty over the last 15 years as clients of Strategic Moves. Strategic Moves has discontinued operations as of 10/31/2019. Many of our clients have transitioned to Davinci Jets who are capable and excited to provide an excellent level of service.

The company was expected to bring 15-17 jobs and tens of millions of dollars of aircraft to Rowan County when it moved from Statesville four years ago. At the time, it was anticipated that Strategic Moves would pay Rowan County nearly $7,000 per month to lease space at the airport.

Setzer’s bio indicates that he is a retired U.S. Marine Corps pilot who served on the crew of the Presidential Helicopter, Marine One, supporting the White House and President Clinton.

According to that bio, while with the Presidential squadron, he learned that even the smallest detail must be monitored, according to the company web site. His ability to provide support to VIP’s has been well tested in an environment that only the best are chosen to contribute to.

As a Marine One Maintenance Officer and Functional Test Pilot, Steve was one of a select team authorized to certify the President’s helicopter as safe for flight following a maintenance action, according to the bio.

The county built a new office next to a large hangar specifically to bring in clients like Strategic Moves.

The county is looking for a new tenant.

Rowan County Commission Chairman Greg Edds would not discuss Setzer or the charges, but did say that Strategic Moves “chose to wind down. They did so cleanly and very quickly. We’re working to recruit a replacement company. The airport is in great shape. We are working to recruit a new tenant. We have a beautiful facility, a 15,000 square foot class A hangar with great office space. We are already talking to other charter services.”

Late on Thursday WBTV obtained a statement provided to Strategic Moves workers after Setzer’s arrest. In part, the statement says: In the latter part of May 2019, Steve Setzer, the founder, president, and owner of Strategic Moves, took an indefinite leave of absence from flight duties and day-to-day operations of the company to attend to an important personal matter.

On May 20, 2019, Steve was arrested and charged in Chatham County, Georgia with a series of offenses arising from the prosecution’s allegations that, while on a training trip, Steve communicated with and then met an individual he met through a popular adult dating app.

Prosecutors allege that Steve engaged in relations with this individual, and that — contrary to what the individual listed on their online profile, what they may have represented to Steve, and even what they repeatedly told police on that day — the individual was not in fact 18 years old, as was represented on so many instances. As a result of these allegations, Steve faces charges under Georgia law. It bears mention that even if these allegations were true, such behavior would not even constitute a crime in many states. And in many more, authorities discharge good judgment and apply the “strict liability” crime only where it is truly warranted — i.e., where a person intentionally engaged in behavior with an underage individual.But while that process unfolds, the Strategic Moves family will continue to hope and pray for a just outcome for Steve.

In the meantime, while our hearts, thoughts, and prayers may be with Steve in Chatham County, Georgia, our focus remains squarely here — serving the most important component of our business, our clients. Some disruption was inevitable over the past few months, but we are confident that our clients will enjoy the same excellence in client service they have always known from the team at Strategic Moves, even during this period of transition.

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