SEXUAL ASSAULT POSTED ON FACEBOOK
Friday, January 14, 2011—Bond has been set at $75,000 for a Ford Heights man accused of sexually assaulting a teen girl and taking explicit photos that were later disseminated on Facebook, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Friday.
Leroy Stephenson, 24, has been charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, a Class X felony, and child pornography. He appeared in Markham bond court on Friday.
Cook County Sheriff’s Office investigators first learned of the crime after the victim’s mother notified police that pictures of her juvenile daughter engaged in a sexual act with an adult male were posted on Facebook.
After interviewing Stephenson, detectives learned that he had been engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship with the victim since February 2010, when she was 15 years old, and he was 23 years old. According to the victim, Stephenson pursued her consistently over the course of two years in order to gain her confidence, as she was scared to enter into a relationship with someone “older”. Eventually Stephenson was able to convince her to enter into a sexual relationship.
Stephenson signed a written statement detailing the relationship, and admitting to taking a pornographic photo of the victim on his cell phone, on or about December 12th, 2010. Investigators believe Stephenson sent the picture from his cell phone to another individual, and at least ten other people received the explicit photo on their phones through text messages. From that point the photo was posted on numerous Facebook pages. After learning of its existence, the victim’s family asked Facebook to take down all the pictures.
Detectives notified the Department of Children and Family Services, which is also investigating.
Stephenson’s next court date is February 3rd in Markham.