Toledo man convicted of sexually abusing teens

By David Panian - The (Adrian) Daily Telegram (TNS)

ADRIAN, Mich. — Jurors on Friday convicted a Toledo man of having two siblings engage in sex acts with each other and with him when he lived with them in Cambridge Township.

David Alan Stevens, 42, was convicted of one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct after a two-day trial in Lenawee County Circuit Court. He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced May 4 by Circuit Judge Anna Marie Anzalone. Until then he remains in jail.

The jury deliberated for about two hours before returning the verdict.

The brother and sister, who now live in Ohio and are now 17 and 19, respectively, testified about incidents that happened in early 2017 and in late 2012. The abuse came to light while the boy was visiting relatives in Ohio in early April and, while his aunt and uncle were arguing, blurted out that Stevens is a rapist, the siblings’ aunt testified Friday.

She described the boy as “panicky” when he had his outburst. She said they talked more the next day, and she encouraged him to tell his mother, but he didn’t think she would believe him.

A while later, after waiting for the boy to tell his mother, her husband told her father about the boy’s outburst. The grandfather called police.

The incident the boy told his aunt about happened between Jan. 1 and March 1, 2017, during an evening when their mother — Stevens’ on-again, off-again wife or girlfriend; they were married twice — was at work at an auto parts factory. The siblings testified it involved Stevens asking if a man could tell the difference between a man or a woman performing fellatio on him. The sister said her brother was the test subject. After they performed the test, the sister said, Stevens had her perform oral sex on him.

Both siblings said they didn’t talk about what happened with each other and were reluctant to tell their friends or anyone else.

“Having it be a secret stuck in my mind, and if I told them they might tell someone and I’d be going through what I’m going through now,” the sister testified, calling it a “sad part of my life.”

“It’s embarrassing to say I’d gone through this,” she said. “I didn’t want to tell.”

Like her brother, she said she didn’t think her mother would believe her.

She said she had a hard time telling what happened to the Michigan State Police trooper who investigated the allegations.

“I still don’t feel like talking about it at all … to anyone,” she said.

She was angry at first when she found out her brother had told what had happened, because she knew their family life would fall apart. Now, though, she said she felt “kind of relieved, actually.”

“Now I don’t have to carry this huge secret,” she said.

The brother said the incident made him feel “weak and weird” because he felt he couldn’t stop it and didn’t have a choice.

Both said Stevens mostly was responsible for discipline in the house because their mother worked a lot and he was home most of the time and didn’t work regular jobs due to physical limitations. The brother said “it was more than discipline,” but the sister said he was nice to her.

The sister described another incident that happened shortly after her 13th birthday in 2012 that was the basis for the first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. She, her brother and Stevens were at home during the evening and their mother was at work. She said Stevens took her to his bedroom and had her perform oral sex on him.

“He told me I was good at it, I was better than my mom,” she said. “It weirded me out, being compared to my mom.”

Stevens told her to keep it a secret because he would get in trouble if anyone found out, she said.

She said there had been other incidents going back to when she was 7 or 8 and they lived in Lansing.

Stevens’ attorney, David I. Goldstein of Ann Arbor, asked both about things they had written about Stevens. He asked the brother about a note that talked about killing others as well as Stevens and his mother and committing suicide. He said he was just blowing off steam and was thinking about leaving home to go live with a friend or in the woods.

Goldstein read some passages from the sister’s diary that showed she sometimes wanted Stevens to move back in with them. She testified that overall things were nicer when he was away. She didn’t write any favorable notes about Stevens after the three-way incident.

The siblings’ mother, who was a witness for the defense, testified she was unaware of any allegations of abuse by Stevens until April of last year. She said her children liked him and were happy when he would move back in with them. She said she did the disciplining but that Stevens probably yelled at them from time to time.

Assistant Lenawee County Prosecutor Angie Borders asked the mother about Stevens cheating on her in 2013. She said she didn’t remember who Stevens cheated on her with or even if that person was a man or woman.

She said, in response to a question from Borders, that Stevens was interested in three-way sexual encounters.

Stevens did not testify.

Goldstein questioned the veracity of the siblings’ testimony, pointing out differences in their accounts.

He said this wasn’t a situation where a young child had been abused.

“These are teenagers,” he said in his closing argument. “These aren’t little kids. These are kids with pretty fertile imaginations.”

Goldstein also said they had many opportunities to tell anyone about alleged sexual abuse that was not included in the three charges against Stevens during the times he and their mother were broken up. He said they could have told their mother they didn’t want Stevens to move back in with them.

In her final argument, Borders told the jury it was unlikely the siblings would make up such an embarrassing story as that of the incident with the three of them.

“If they were making up a story to get David out of the house, is that the story they would tell?” Borders said.

By David Panian

The (Adrian) Daily Telegram (TNS)

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