On Wednesday, July 24, 2013, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, STEVEN K. RICE, d/o/b 10-26-1947, of Rockaway Beach, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Mark Orr to ten (10) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for distribution of marijuana to a child, seven (7) years for possession of child pornography, and four (4) years for sexual misconduct involving a child by indecent exposure. The sentences were handed-down after a lengthy sentencing hearing, because there was no plea agreement as to what sentences Rice would receive for his crimes. The only plea agreement that Rice had with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office was that a single felony count of enticement of a child would be dismissed.

The sentences were the end result of an investigation from 2010 by the Taney County Sheriff’s Office into allegations made by Rice’s 13-year old granddaughter that Rice had given her marijuana, smoked the marijuana with her, then coaxed her to take off all her clothes. Once the child was nude, Rice took off all of his clothes and proceeded to take photographs of the child. Pornographic images of children, unrelated to photographs Rice took of his granddaughter, were later found on Rice’s computer. During the 2010 investigation, Rice admitted his actions with his granddaughter to a Taney County Deputy. In April of this year, Rice pled guilty to the three (3) felonies before Judge Orr. At Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, however, Rice’s attorney presented several witnesses to testify about how Rice’s granddaughter had been to blame for Rice’s crimes, and that Rice acted innocently. After hearing about two (2) hours of evidence and argument from the parties, Orr sentenced Rice to prison.

Felony distribution of a controlled substance to a minor is a class B felony, carrying a maximum sentence of fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Possession of child pornography is a class C felony and carries a maximum sentence of seven (7) years in the Missouri Department Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine, while sexual misconduct involving a child by indecent exposure is a class D felony and carries a maximum penalty of four (4) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and/or a $5,000.00 fine. Rice’s sentences are to run concurrently with one another, and Rice was ordered assigned to a Sex Offender Assessment Unit in the Department of Corrections. In that unit, Rice will be assessed to determine his risk to the community. If Rice is found not to be a threat, he could be released onto supervised probation after 120 days in custody.