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Falls man takes deal in child sex case | News, Sports, Jobs | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey



Staff photo / Chris McBride
Steven Billock appears in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday for a plea agreement that will keep him from facing a jury trial. Billock pleaded guilty to 31 child sex charges, despite turning down a plea last week.

WARREN — A Newton Falls man reached a plea deal in a multicharge child sexual assault case.

Steven Billock, 39, Grant Street, pleaded guilty in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday to a 31-count indictment centered on the rape of a minor and being in possession of child pornography.

Billock pleaded to one count of rape that carries a life sentence, one count of attempted rape, two counts of pandering sexually oriented material, three counts of gross sexual imposition, 21 counts of illegal use of a minor in a nudity oriented material or performance and three counts of pandering sexual-oriented matter involving minors.

The Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office reported that “numerous pieces” of evidence were collected during a raid of his Grant Avenue home.

The search warrant was obtained by the sheriff’s office after receiving an investigative tip.

An 8-year-old was taken into custody by Trumbull County Children Services after he was found during the search. That child since has been placed into foster care.

PLEA TERMS

Terms of the plea agreement would have Billock facing a minimum of 40 years to life and a maximum sentence of 60 years to life.

Last week, Billock turned down a similar plea deal in which the prosecution offered a prison term of 51 years to life.

The court stated that he would be labeled a Tier 3 sex offender, which requires lifetime registration. As part of the deal, the prosecution dropped the sexually violent predator specification.

Before sentencing, a background investigation will be conducted by probation officers.

Assistant Prosecutor Gabe Wildman said the state will push for the maximum sentence.

Wildman said the prosecutor’s office, the internet crimes and child porn unit are “busier than we’ve ever been” with cases of child sex abuse.

Not only have the numbers increased, according to Wildman, but the nature of the offenses has taken a troubling turn.

“What we used to see are purely internet-based crimes. Now we’re seeing when we get into the home that these individuals are truly dangerous,” Wildman said. “They’re putting their hands on kids, they’re actively hurting kids, so it isn’t just looking at pictures … these guys are hands-on sex offenders.”



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