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Charged with more than 300 sex crimes, local man enters guilty plea

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By Calen McKinney

 

The Taylor County man charged with committing more than 300 sex crimes has pleaded guilty to amended charges and could spend 18 years in prison and register as a sex offender for his crimes.

Steven Grapevine, 35, of 1034 Stoner Creek Road in Elk Horn, was indicted by a Taylor County grand jury in September 2012 and charged with sexually abusing and raping two teenagers, one allegedly for more than two years.

According to a Taylor County Sheriff's Office report, deputies were told that Grapevine allegedly sexually abused a 15-year-old girl while she was visiting a home in Taylor County.

Two days later, the report states, a 19-year-old female told sheriff's deputies that, starting when she was 15, Grapevine allegedly raped her once or twice a week for two and a half years.

After an investigation, Grapevine was arrested in August 2012 and charged with first-degree sexual abuse, indecent exposure and 100 counts of first-degree rape.

In September 2012, the grand jury charged him in two separate cases with 312 counts of a sex-related crime, four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and three counts of first-degree criminal attempt to commit a sex-related crime.

Taylor County Sheriff's Deputy Dickie Benningfield investigated.

Benningfield said in August 2012 that deputies called Grapevine in for questioning after receiving the reports. During an interview, Benningfield said, Grapevine admitted to doing some of the acts he was accused of committing. Grapevine was then arrested.

According to Grapevine's arrest citations, he allegedly exposed himself to one of the girls and touched her breasts.

Court records state that Grapevine admitted verbally and in a written statement to sexually abusing one of the girls and raping the other.

According to court records, the 19-year-old girl told deputies that Grapevine would come into her room as she slept and rape her. This continued from May 2008 to August 2010, the girl said.

The other girl, court records state, told deputies that Grapevine attempted to rape her, exposed himself to her and asked for oral sex. She said he also touched her breasts and genitals. He denied those accusations, records state.

Grapevine appeared before Taylor Circuit Court Judge Alan Bertram on May 7. He pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. The remaining charges were merged and dismissed, based upon an agreement with the victims in the case, court records state.

Records from Grapevine's appearance weren't entered into court documents until Friday, June 14.

Commonwealth's Attorney Shelly Miller, the prosecutor in the case, has recommended that Grapevine be sentenced to serve five years in prison in one case and 13 in the other, to be served consecutively, for a total of 18 years in prison.

Miller also recommended that Grapevine be ordered to register as a sex offender, attend sex offender treatment and pay a $1,000 fine.

Public defender Shanda West-Stiles of the Department of Public Advocacy in Columbia represented Grapevine. She did not return a request for comment on the cases before press time.

Miller declined to comment, stating that can't do so before a defendant is sentenced.

Formal sentencing is set for Tuesday, July 9.

Grapevine has been incarcerated at the Taylor County Detention Center since his arrest Sept. 19, 2012.

If convicted by a jury, Grapevine could have been sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison for each of the sex-related crimes and as much as 10 on the sexual abuse charges, which equates to as much as life in prison.