A man convicted of statutory rape in Rowan County Superior Court this week will spend at least 50 years in prison, according to a news release from the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office.
Steven Lee Odom, 26, was convicted of statutory rape and statutory sex offense. The victim was 13 years old and Odom 21 when the crimes occurred in 2009.
After a two-day jury trial, Judge Mark Klass sentenced Odom to a minimum of 50 years and a maximum of 61 1/2 years in prison.
When the crimes occurred in 2009, Odom was on probation for two counts of indecent liberties with a child and was a registered sex offender, after pleading guilty to those offenses in Stanley County in 2008.
Odom had originally been charged in Scotland County with statutory rape, and the victim in that case had become pregnant with his child.
In the Rowan case, Odom lived across the street from the victim’s grandmother. Odom would see the girl — a student at Erwin Middle School — when she got off the school bus and walked to her grandmother’s.
“Odom began telling her how good she looked and inviting her to his house to play,” the news release said. “He made contact with her and continued to seduce her on Facebook and Myspace, asking her to send him nude pictures of herself. That progressed to providing her with cigarettes and telling her he loved her. They eventually had sexual intercourse.”
The victim’s mother learned that her daughter was communicating with Odom via Facebook and Myspace and contacted Odom herself to tell him to leave her daughter alone. She also searched the Rowan County Sex Offender registry and found out that he was convicted sex offender. When he refused to leave her daughter alone, she contacted the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Detective Clint Mauldin began a joint investigation with SBI Special Agent Kevin Kimbrough. They were able record a telephone conversation between the victim and Odom in which he coached her about how to lie to the police about their relationship and how to beat a lie detector test. During that phone call he also told her that he threw away the condom they had used when they had sex. Mauldin and Kimbrough subsequently interviewed Odom and he admitted having intercourse with the victim.
Odom denied making those statements when he testified during his trial. He also tried to explain the taped phone call, which was admitted into evidence and played by Assistant District Attorney Paxton Butler, who tried the case.
The jury returned guilty verdicts on both counts after about 30 minutes of deliberation.
As part of his sentence, Odom is now required to register as a sex offender for life and be on satellite-based monitoring for life.
A former Salisbury Fire Department captain has filed a lawsuit claiming he was fired for his involvement in a union.... read more