WALTERBORO, SC (January 22, 2020) – A Colleton County man has been convicted of fondling a young relative in 2018, only months after his release from prison on an unrelated offense.
Keith Preston Crum, 38, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor Tuesday in Colleton County General Sessions Court.
“He’s clearly a menace to society and a danger to any children that he would come into contact with,” said Katherine Orville of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “The family is happy that he’s going to be doing a significant amount of time, and the judge forbade him from having any contact with the victim or her family.”
On the day jury selection was to begin in his trial, Crum entered an Alford plea, in which the defendant maintains his innocence but avoids a trial because the prosecution has evidence likely to result in a conviction.
The victim, who was under age 10, was assaulted while spending the night in the home of a relative, where Crum had been living after his March 2018 release from prison on an assault and battery charge.
Crum’s offense was discovered after he later moved out of the home and left behind incriminating materials. Those included a photo of the victim, a folder containing sexually explicit stories Crum had written and letters from inmates, many of whom told him how much they enjoyed receiving his stories. Some of the inmates’ letters referenced Crum’s stories about sexual acts with family members, including the victim.
Confronted with the letters by his family and asked if he had assaulted his relative, Crum smirked and declared, “probation won’t do anything about it, and you won’t be able to prove it.” However, his victim subsequently disclosed details of Crum’s assaults, in which he touched her private parts.
Crum’s criminal record includes convictions for grand larceny, assault and battery, indecent exposure and failure to register as a sex offender.
Judge Perry Buckner handed down Tuesday’s sentence.
Orville is a member of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Special Victims Unit, which prosecutes cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and other crimes against vulnerable populations.