Alabama Man Convicted Of Sex Crimes With Minor in Ohio County Court

Photo by Jessica Broverman Lamont Dees returns to his seat after approaching the bench during his sexual assault trial Tuesday.

An Ohio County jury deliberated for about three hours Tuesday before finding an Alabama man guilty of sex crimes against a 12-year-old girl in 2013.

The jury of six women and six men convicted Lamont Dees, 45, on one count of third-degree sexual assault and one count of sexual abuse by a custodian after a two-day trial before Circuit Judge David Sims. His original charges included two counts each of third-degree sexual assault and sexual abuse by a custodian, as well as one count of third-degree sexual abuse.

“The bottom line in this case is that it is illegal for a 41-year-old man to have sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old girl. … He’s spending time with her (and) doing fun things, but then their relationship took a dark turn,” Ohio County Assistant Prosecutor Jenna Perkins said during her closing argument.

Evidence presented during the trial included text messages, video footage and testimony from multiple witnesses, including the victim’s mother, Dees’ former girlfriend.

While testifying in his own defense Tuesday, Dees said several times that he “never touched” the victim.

“He is an Afro-American male and she is a white female. They want you to think that my client had a responsibility or a duty to do something (for) this child and that’s not true,” defense attorney Edward Gillison argued during his closing statement. “Everything that my client did for this child was out of the goodness and kindness of his heart. … How many people would willingly admit that a 12-year-old was dominating him?”

During her closing argument, Perkins said Dees should be ashamed for his actions.

According to testimony, Dees began a romantic relationship with the victim’s mother in February of 2011, when her daughter was 10 years old. After Dees and the victim’s mother ended their relationship, they agreed the child could stay at Dees’ home one weekend per month.

During one of those visits, Dees sexually assaulted the girl, who is now 16 years old. During her testimony, the victim’s mother said Dees served in “a father role to her.”

Dees during his testimony claimed the victim blackmailed him, even though he continued to deny all the allegations against him.

“She tried to threaten me and blackmail me. … I tried to be there for her as a father figure and show love and support (and) I was hurt,” Dees testified.

According to testimony, the victim’s mother learned of the assault by speaking to her daughter’s friend during a period of time when the victim ran away from home. The victim opened up about the assault after her mother confronted her. West Virginia State Police arrested Dees on April 2.

Sheriff’s deputies took Dees into custody after the verdict was read. A sentencing date has not been set. Dees faces 11-25 years in prison.