Prosecutors: Man sent inmates letters about sexual abuse

WALTERBORO, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for molesting a young relative, a crime that was discovered when the suspect left behind letters from inmates telling him how much they appreciated him recounting the abuse, prosecutors said.

Keith Preston Crum, 38, pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor in Colleton County, authorities said.

Crum has been out of prison only a few months in 2018 when he fondled the girl, who was under 10 years old and was spending the night with another relative, the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office said in a news release.

When Crum moved out, family members found a picture of the victim, sexually explicit stories and letters from inmates telling Crum how much they enjoyed his stories about sexually abusing relatives, including the victim, prosecutors said.

Crum's family confronted him and he told them they couldn't prove he abused the girl, authorities said.

But she told investigators details of Crum's assaults, prosecutors said.

The judge that sentenced Crum also agreed with his family's request to not have any contact with them when he gets out of prison, authorities said.

“He’s clearly a menace to society and a danger to any children that he would come into contact with. The family is happy that he’s going to be doing a significant amount of time," assistant prosecutor Katherine Orville said in a statement.

Crum had just been released from prison after serving time for assault and battery. His criminal record also included convictions for grand larceny, indecent exposure and failure to register as a sex offender.

Crum pleaded guilty using an Alford Plea, where defendants maintain they are innocent, but plead guilty because the prosecution has overwhelming evidence against them.

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This story was first published on Jan. 26, 2020. It was updated on Jan. 28 to correct the court circuit. It was the 14th Circuit, not the 15th.