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Man gets 18 years in sex crime case

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By Calen McKinney

 

The Taylor County man charged with committing more than 300 sex crimes has been sentenced to serve 18 years in prison for his crimes.

He will also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and be ordered to complete treatment.

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 on a regular basis for more than two years.

Grapevine appeared before Taylor Circuit Court Judge Alan Bertram on May 7 and 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.

Commonwealth's Attorney Shelly Miller, the prosecutor in the case, 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.

Grapevine appeared before Bertram on Sept. 17 for sentencing. Records from the hearing weren't filed into court records until Sept. 30.

Grapevine was sentenced to serve 13 years in prison on the rape charges and five years on the sex abuse charges, to be served after each other. He was given credit for time he has already served.

Taylor County Detention Center records state that Grapevine has been incarcerated there since Sept. 19, 2012.

According to a Taylor County Sheriff's Office report, deputies received a report last year 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 Taylor County 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 to the sheriff's office for questioning after receiving the reports.

During an interview, Benningfield said, Grapevine admitted to some of the acts and 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 often came into her room as she slept and raped 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.

Public defender Shanda West-Stiles of the Department of Public Advocacy in Columbia represented Grapevine. She nor Miller returned a request for comment on the cases before press time.

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.