Convicted of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

 ANDERSON COUNTY – A 64-year-old Slocum man was sentenced to 119 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division after an Anderson County Jury found him guilty of continuous sexual abuse of a child and sexual abuse of a child

Stephyn Cornell Prine of Slocum, was sentenced to 99 years in TDCJ for the continuous sexual abuse crime and 20 years in TDCJ for the sexual abuse conviction after a week-long trial, ending on July 14.

According to Anderson District Attorney Allyson Mitchell, the jury was presented with evidence which proved Prine had engaged in the repeated sexual abuse of a family member.

During the course of the trial, witnesses testified how the victim received special treatment in the form of gifts and excessive attention from Prine. Those witnesses testified that his attention toward the victim was not normal behavior, according to the D.A.

Eventually, Mitchell said the victim confided in a family member as well as another friend about how she was being sexually assaulted by Prine.

When confronted about the sexual assault, Prine was heard by independent witnesses saying to the victim, “You know you wanted it, you know you liked it,” Mitchell stated in a press release issued after the trial.

The friend the victim confided in, according to the D.A., heard the previously mentioned statements and called 911 to report the victim was being sexually abused by a family member.

Jurors also heard sworn testimony from the victim who stated after turning 13, Prine began his pattern of repeated sexual assault. The abuse happened until just after the victim turned 14, Mitchell indicated.

Testifying in his own defense, Prine took the stand. When asked by his attorney (Stephen Evans) if he had committed the crimes he was accused of, Prine replied, “Not that I know of.”

Both a video statement, along with a written statement from Prine, were entered into evidence.

In one of the statements, Mitchell reported Prine was heard to remark, “If I was forcing her to do anything she didn’t want to do, someone would have heard me.”

In addition, when the state asked why he did not deny or admit the allegations in either statement, Prine responded “… he wasn’t asked to.”

Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child is a first degree felony that carries a range of punishment from 25 years to 99 years or life in TDCJ. An individual convicted of this crime is not eligible for parole and must serve the entire sentence day-for-day.

“Children are our greatest assets.  They are entrusted unto people to love, raise, and protect.  A trust and love existed between the victim and the defendant; a trust that the defendant used to his sexual advantage,” Mitchell stated.

“Based off the evidence, the jury made the correct decision,” the D.A. continued. “The 99-year and 20- year sentences let Prine know the repulsiveness and perversion of his acts and should send a message to other child predators. Sexual assaults tend to be a crime of secrets, and it is only when someone is brave enough to say this abuse is wrong does the abuse ever come to light.  The victim will forever carry the memory of what happened but that should not define her.  Strength should define her after confronting her abuser and with continued therapy and a safe environment she will continue to be a survivor.”

Mitchell encourages any one that is a victim or knows someone that is a victim of sexual abuse to contact law enforcement, Child Protective Services or the District Attorney’s office.

The D.A. further explained, “Trials of this nature are an accumulation of efforts. In this case, it was the work of the witnesses, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Child Protective Services, Forensic Interviewer Rebecca Cunio, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Jessi Jones, Child Sexual Assault Counselor Larry Wilburn and District Attorney Investigator Aneshia Thompson who helped tell the story of what happened to the victim.”

The trial was presided over by 87th Judicial District Judge Deborah Oakes Evans.  Anderson County Criminal District Attorney Allyson Mitchell and 1st Assistant District Attorney Scott Holden.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.