Sex abuse cases sent to grand juryPublished 1:03pm Sunday, June 9, 2013
Three of the Tallassee residents charged in the horrific sex abuse case allegedly involving at least 12 children under the age of 12 uncovered last month had preliminary hearings Thursday.
In each case, District Judge Glenn Goggans found sufficient evidence to have the cases against Brandy Conrad, Helen Hazel Gantt and Jeffery Mark Ray bound over to an Elmore County grand jury.
The three defendants each have been arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy and three counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12 years old, for witnessing or knowing of Steven Norman Conrad Jr.’s ongoing sexual abuse of his own 2-year-old son and not reporting it.
The failure to report the long-running abuse constitutes aiding and abetting Conrad’s crimes.
Brandy Conrad is the wife of Steven Conrad and mother to some of her husband’s alleged victims.
Steven Conrad has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
Goggans denied requests by the trio’s attorneys to have some of the charges dropped or the defendants’ bond amounts reduced.
The four all lived in the same Tallassee household where Steven Conrad allegedly sexually abused at least 12 victims under the age of 12, including one who was 10 months old. Four of the victims were his own children, according to Tallassee police.
Ray’s court-appointed attorney, Kenny James, argued his client never actually witnessed the abuse, “he just didn’t report what he knew.”
Goggans slammed the door on that line of defense, saying, “if you’re an adult and you know a child is being abused and you don’t do anything, that sounds like aiding and abetting to me.”
In testimony given during Brandy Conrad’s appearance, Tallassee Assistant Police Chief Chris Miles testified that Brandy Conrad signed a confession saying she “witnessed crimes against her own son.”
“She observed all of this and did nothing,” Miles said.
He described Brandy Conrad and Gantt on three occasions in March 2012 walking into a room witnessing the rape or sodomy of the 2-year-old victim, the Conrads’ child.
Gantt’s attorney, Bill Lewis, pushed for leniency, noting the 56-year-old had “only lived there a month,” since she became Ray’s girlfriend.
Lewis also sought reduced bail due to a variety of health concerns. Both requests were denied, though Goggans did urge Gantt to make sure she saw the nurse in the jail to be sure her health was looked after.