Men convicted for repeated rape of 9-year-old
BARSTOW • Two Barstow men pleaded no contest to repeatedly raping a 9-year-old girl while the child visited the older man’s home over the summer in 2010.
On the first day of trial, Steven Spradlin, 28, pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of forcible lewd and lascivious acts with the child. He faces 30 years in prison per his agreement with prosecutors. Spradlin’s nephew, Steven Lockridge, 19, also pleaded guilty to child rape charges in an agreement where he will face 18 years in prison.
The girl and three younger siblings were living with Spradlin in his one-bedroom motel room at the Sands Motel in Barstow during the summer of 2010. During this time, Spradlin forcibly raped the girl frequently, as did Lockridge, who was 17 at the time. Police also believe Spradlin performed oral copulation with the young victim and showed her disturbing pornography.
The girl’s mother reported the incidents to Arizona authorities in October 2010 when her daughter told her she had sex with Spradlin, according to Barstow Police Detective Keith Libby. Arizona police turned the case over to the Barstow Police Department when they learned where the crimes occurred. During the investigation, other family members reported seeing hickeys on the girl’s neck while brushing her hair — hickeys she said she got from Spradlin.
During further investigation, police learned Lockridge also had sex with the girl. Though Lockridge was a minor when he committed the crimes, he was charged as an adult.
“These were very serious acts of sexual abuse and included a full range of sexual deviance,” Libby said. “Both men, literally and figuratively, forced her to perform these acts and forced her to look at this pornography and had their way with her.”
Because the crimes were so afflictive, both defendants are classified as sexually violent predators. This means the District Attorney’s office could pursue civil commitments to keep them in custody even after they complete their prison sentences.
The convictions also count as strikes on their records, meaning if either commits a felony in California, they could be sentenced 25 years to life under the three-strikes law.
Spradlin hasn’t been charged with molesting any of the other children. The District Attorney’s office could not charge the victim’s mother with neglect as she falls out of their jurisdiction.
Deputy District Attorney Shannon Faherty said she hadn’t discussed a plea agreement before the trial hearing Tuesday. She believes the defense made the plea when they learned the girl would be flying in to testify.
“That little girl took an awful lot of resilience in getting ready to testify,” Faherty said.
Spradlin’s Deputy Public Defender Paul Henderson chose not to comment on the case.
Both Spradlin and Lockridge are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 15 at Barstow Superior Court.
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