Clark County man accused of having sex with teen girl who viewed him as ’father figure'

Clark County man accused of having sex with teen girl who viewed him as ’father figure'

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - “I just stared at him ... he disgusts me."

That’s how Stephanie Woodward described her interaction with Steven Lanham in a Clark County courtroom Friday.

Lanham is charged with four counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. He’s accused of having sex with Woodward’s then 14-year-old daughter.

“When I told my daughter, I said, ‘Hey your dad got caught, because I mean he was her dad for all these years,’" Woodward said. "She said, ‘I can finally sleep now.’”

According to the probable cause affidavit, Lanham had sex with the girl four times between May 2018 and June 2018, three times at the Clark Sate Forest in Henryville, in the back seat of Lanham’s car. The fourth encounter is alleged to have happened at the Knights Inn hotel in Clarksville.

Woodward said she knows the suspect so well that she used to refer to him as her best friend.

“I’m not lying when I say I thought he was my best friend," Woodward said. "We told each other everything. You know, the people I’ve dated over the years, I’ve told them, 'Hey look that’s my best friend. I called him my baby daddy. That’s my baby daddy. Don’t come between us.’”

The affidavit also states that Lanham admitted to the crimes during an interview with police in May 2019. The documents also state that after the interview, police requested a warrant to be issued for his arrest. That’s when Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said Lanham took off and was on the road for months.

Steven Lanham poses for two separate photos, one before and after his arrest.
Steven Lanham poses for two separate photos, one before and after his arrest. (Source: Courtesy: Stephanie Woodward)

In a picture obtained by WAVE 3 News, Lanham appears to have grown out his hair and beard.

Law enforcement eventually tracked him down and arrested him. Mull credited that to the bravery of the victim.

“It takes a lot of courage to do this, to come forward and disclose (what happened)," Mull said. "And this victim’s done that and we’re going to do everything we can to get her justice.”

Woodward said she can’t wait to see what happens.

“I’d love to see him sit his whole life in jail," she said.

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