PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A man who groomed, sexually abused, and videotaped a 10-year-old girl was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday.
Phillip Lyvonne Stephens, 38, was sentenced Wednesday morning by Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark, who also presided over Stephens’ one-day bench trial and found him guilty as charged on 10 counts, 7 counts of sexual battery on a child under the age of 12, 2 counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, and 1 count of lewd or lascivious exhibition.
Prosecutor Jennifer Lieb asked Clark for the maximum sentence, according to a news release from the state attorney’s office.
“He has refused to accept responsibility and has adamantly blamed everyone else, including the victim,” Lieb said in court. “He very carefully groomed this child to behave the way he wanted her to.”
Lieb also praised the victim, who was the State’s second witness, for her strength in testifying and being in court for sentencing.
“This child is incredibly brave to face the person that abused her multiple times,” Lieb said. “She wanted to testify against him to make sure he couldn’t do this to any other children. This defendant videotaped his abuse, creating a record of the abuse that would revictimize this child every time it was played.
“He will never harm another child in our area or anywhere else.”
The abuse came to light in June of 2020, when the defendant was arrested for domestic violence.