MARKHAM | A Cook County judge set bond at $75,000 for a Ford Heights man accused of sexually assaulting a teen girl and taking explicit photos that were later disseminated on Facebook, Sheriff Tom Dart announced Friday.
Leroy Stephenson, 24, is charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, a Class X felony, and child pornography. He appeared in Markham bond court Friday.
County investigators said they first learned of the incident after the girl's mother notified police that pictures of her juvenile daughter engaged in a sexual act with an adult male were posted on the social networking Internet site.
After interviewing Stephenson, detectives said they learned he had been engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship with the girl since February, when she was 15 and he was 23.
According to the girl, Stephenson pursued her consistently over the course of two years in order to gain her confidence, as she was scared to enter into a relationship with someone "older." Stephenson eventually was able to persuade her to enter into a sexual relationship, she said.
Stephenson signed a written statement detailing the relationship and admitting to taking a pornographic photo of the victim on his cell phone on or about Dec. 12. Investigators believe Stephenson sent the picture from his cell phone to another individual, and at least 10 other people received the explicit photo on their phones through text messages. From that point the photo was posted on numerous Facebook pages. After learning of its existence, the girl's family asked Facebook to take down the pictures.
Detectives notified the Department of Children and Family Services, which also is investigating.
Stephenson's next court date is Feb. 3 in Markham.