By Sam Wildow
TROY — A Piqua man was sentenced to 20 years in prison to life on Tuesday afternoon in Miami County Common Pleas Court after previously being found guilty of 10 counts of first-degree felony rape.
Christopher L. Stevens, 33, of Piqua, was sentenced to 10 years to life for each count of rape. Common Pleas Court Judge Jeannine Pratt made counts one through five of Stevens’ indictment run concurrent to one another, and counts six through 10 will also run concurrent to one another. Counts six through 10, though, will run consecutive to counts one through five.
The sentencing Stevens received means he will be serving his prison time for the first five counts of the indictment at the same time for 10 years. Then, Stevens will serve his prison time for the next five counts in the indictment at the same time for another 10 years for a total of at least 20 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Pratt went against the plea agreement between Stevens and the state, which was that the sentence for all 10 counts would run concurrent to one another for a maximum sentence of 10 years to life. Stevens previously entered a plea of guilty to all 10 counts of first-degree felony rape in the indictment in October.
Pratt stated she follows the plea agreements in 90% of cases, but she said she did not find concurrent sentences were warranted in this case.
According to the indictment against Stevens, he was accused of engaging in sexual conduct with a female victim under the age of 13 between Nov. 13, 2020 and March 26, 2021.
During the sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Stevens’ attorney Steve King said Stevens “has a limited criminal history.” King said Stevens was an honorably discharged Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. King said he has come to know Stevens over the past few months with this case, saying it was “hard to put that person” together with the nature of the events.
“I don’t know how Christopher got to that point,” King said, saying Stevens still had family support and asking Pratt to follow the joint recommendation for concurrent sentences.
“I would just like to apologize for my actions,” Stevens said, saying he hoped he could be forgiven one day. “This ain’t who I am.”
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Paul Watkins called the crime “horrific,” stating the incidents were of “continual sexual abuse.”
Pratt stated she received two victim impact statements, one of which was read aloud during the hearing by the underage victim. The other victim statement was from the victim’s grandmother.
Pratt went over Stevens’ criminal history, which included citations for underage drinking, receiving stolen property, and prohibited pollution of state land.
“He demonstrates no genuine remorse,” Pratt said. Pratt added the victim suffered serious psychological and physical harm. Stevens held a “position of trust” with the victim and had a relationship with the victim that facilitated the crime, Pratt said.
Additionally, Pratt went over the previous allegations of sexual abuse that Stevens had faced. There were reports made in 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2020, she said. Pratt commended the investigation of the Piqua Police Department for obtaining private Facebook messages and cell phone records between Stevens and the victim that revealed the abuse and “grooming.”
“You stole her identity — her identity as a child,” Pratt said. She said Stevens was a “manipulator” and a “predator.” According to previous court documents, Stevens reportedly blamed his actions on cocaine usage, which Pratt called “ridiculous.”
“I saw those texts, what you said to her,” Pratt said. Pratt said Stevens exposed the minor to marijuana, “took advantage of her,” and told the victim “to lie if she was confronted.”
“You are dangerous,” Pratt said, adding that it was the court’s opinion that he was “very likely” to re-offend.
“He will manipulate more children,” Pratt said. “The court has the duty to protect the public.”
Stevens will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years in prison. He received a jail credit of 250 days.
Once he is released from prison, Stevens will be subject to five years of post-release control. He will also be labeled a tier III sex offender, meaning he has to register as a sex offender for his lifetime. Stevens will have to provide in-person verification of residence every 90 days.