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Police uncover more than decade of sex abuse

Published 8:43am Monday, May 6, 2013

By ASHLEY VICE
Tallassee Tribune

A Tallassee man has been charged with the sexual abuse of eight minors, most of them children younger than 12 years old. Three other Tallassee residents have been arrested for failure to report these crimes, which occurred over the past 11 years.
The Tallassee Police Department began investigating Steven Norman Conrad Jr., 31, of Tallassee on April 22.
Four of the eight victims were Conrad’s biological Children. The age range of the children during the alleged sexual abuse was 13 years old to 5 months old, according to Tallassee Police Chief Jimmy Rodgers.
Conrad is being held in the Tallassee City Jail on at least 86 charges ranging from sexual abuse, first-degree rape, second-degree rape and first-degree sodomy.
“We are still investigating this case so we don’t have all the exact charges right now,” Rodgers said. “This went above and beyond what we expected.”
Conrad confessed to the abuse, which he enacted on most of the victims on multiple occasions.
His wife, Brandy Jean Conrad, and two others, Helen Hazel Gantt and Jeffery Mark Ray, were also arrested in conjunction with the case for failure to report sexual abuse of a child.
Rodgers said all three suspects had knowledge of abuse for at least one victim and that none of them made an attempt to report the crime to law enforcement.
Rodgers said the case is unprecedented in Tallassee.
Five officers, led by Assistant Chief Chris Miles, worked on the investigation.
Rodgers said special thanks go out to the Tallassee Ministerial Alliance for their help with the initial counseling of the victims and their families. He specifically thanked Pastor Chris Whittington of Living Water Worship Center and Pastor Gene Bridgman of Elam Baptist church.
“These pastors responded on behalf of the Ministerial Alliance and provided a unique service that we were blessed to have, and this community is blessed to have,” Rodgers said in a press release issued Wednesday. “The pastors of this organization truly emulate their calling, and that is to serve their fellow man and community in whatever means they are needed.”
TPD is also receiving assistance in the investigation and treatment for the victims and their families from the Elmore County Department of Human Resources.
Rodgers said the department suspects more victims are out there. He urged anyone, victims or witnesses to contact TPD to seek help.
“Our desire is to provide avenues for each, to assist with dealing with these traumatic experiences and to ensure that this individual is not in a position to traumatize another child,” Rodgers said.
Brandy Jean Conrad was charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy and three counts of first-degree sexual abuse. She is being held on a $350,000 bond in the Elmore County Jail.
Gantt was charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy, two counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes and one count of first-degree sexual abuse. He is being held on a $300,000 bond in the Elmore County Jail.
Ray was charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. He is being held on a $300,000 bond in the Elmore County Jail.

— Kevin Taylor contributed to this report.

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