RUSSELLVILLE - RUSSELLVILLE - Terry Landon Stidham, 19, Hamilton, has been arrested and charged with second-degree rape, second-degree sodomy, possession of child pornography, possession of pornography with the intent to distribute and possession of pornography with a minor after an alleged sexual encounter between Stidham and 14-year-old girl.
The charges were filed against Stidham after Franklin County officials began an investigation into obscene material circulating online.
According to the Franklin Free Press, the alleged incident occurred at night at the Russellville Tennis Complex restroom building. The tennis complex is owned and operated by the City of Russellville Park and Recreation Department.
Russellville Police Department Chief Chris Hargett said Stidham used a cellular device to videotape the sex acts and later distributed the video to multiple underage female students, the Free Press reported.
Police were notified by the victim's parents about the incident, as well as the distribution of the video. Hargett said investigators have also spoken with more than one underage student who received the video from Stidham, the Free Press reported.
Lt. Jake Tompkins of the Russellville PD told the Franklin County Times that the victim was a resident of Franklin County.
According to the newspaper, Stidham turned himself into the Russellville Police Department accompanied by his attorney and was released the same day after posting a $200,000 bond.
The charges against Stidham are Class B felonies, punishable by a two to 20 year prison sentence upon conviction. Alabama law prohibits the possession of any obscene matter that contains a visual depiction of a person under the age of 17 engaged in any act of sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct.
According to the Free Press, Stidham waived his right to a preliminary hearing last week and the case was bound over to Franklin County Circuit Court.The next step in the legal process will be to present the case to a Franklin County grand jury. Hargett told the Free Press that will likely take place early next year.
(When a defendant is charged with a crime, the charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.)
See complete story in the Journal Record.