Molestation Verdict, Sentence
A child molester will spend the next 25 years behind bars after being convicted by a Laurens County jury.
Michael Cliff Eubanks, 32, of Clinton, was found guilty of one count each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, following a four-day trial at the Laurens County Courthouse.
“Predators like Michael Eubanks need to be behind bars so they can no longer carve a path of destruction through the lives of children to satisfy themselves,” Solicitor David Stumbo said. “I am very proud of this young lady for having the courage to come forward and face her abuser in court. It is my prayer that she can now move forward and put this dark chapter of her life behind her.”
Following the verdict, Circuit Judge Frank Addy Jr. immediately sentenced Eubanks to 25 years in prison on the charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, plus a consecutive 15-year suspended sentence on the charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Judge Addy also sentenced Eubanks to 15 years in prison on a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, with that sentence to run concurrently.
Over a six-year period, Eubanks repeatedly assaulted a girl under the age of 13, an announcement from the Solicitor’s Office said. The victim came forward about the abuse in June of 2017.
Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Julie Kate Keeney handled the case for the state with assistance from 8th Circuit Investigator Walter Bentley and Victim Advocate Rhetta Christian. Eubanks was represented by Rauch Wise of the Greenwood County Bar. The defense immediately announced a decision to appeal the verdict.
Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff along with Inv. Jared Hunnicutt of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and Kim Little of Gilchrist Consultation and Counseling in securing the conviction and lengthy prison sentence.
Defendant & Mother of Victim Testify in Sex Case
The mother of a girl who was allegedly the victim of sexual conduct testified yesterday during the 3rd day of trail for 31-year-old Michael Eubanks of Clinton. The mother said she and Eubanks argued over the time he spent with her daughter. She said she threatened to install a nanny-cam. When asked by the prosecution how she didn’t know sexual abuse was happening, tears came to her eyes as she said that testimony from an earlier witness on behavioral ramifications in victims of abuse “Described my daughter to a T.”
Defense Attorney Rauch Wise called family and friends of the defendant to be character witnesses. They testified that they had never seen favoritism for the victim from the defendant or any bad behavior that may have been deemed sexual.
There was a slight delay in one witness taking the stand when a juror said she worked with that person. The witness was allowed. The defendant’s parents said they’d heard the victim’s mother saying she knew how to get rid of him. The prosecution questioned the girl’s mom about this and she said they were all just kidding around all the time.
The defendant’s father was another to bring up an accusation that the defendant had $40,000 in a safe and claimed it is missing.
When the defendant took the stand, he said he never was inappropriate with the victim and denied all the allegations from the victim and her family.
The defense questioned Eubanks regarding how there was opportunity for the abuse, due to lack of times they were alone, especially when the victim claimed how frequent the abuse was.
A medical record of the defendant indicating he had erectile disfunction was not allowed to be entered, after the prosecution objected, stating the doctor involved would need to testify on that.
The defendant testified that the victim was acting “provocative,” towards him, and he said that it gave him weird vibes, and he told her to stop that you shouldn’t be doing this. He did admit to an episode that had been brought up earlier this week where he had a sexual reaction that he blamed on the victim for her wiggling on his lap.
On cross examination, prosecutor asked the defendant about all the porn in his possession. He replied that he enjoyed the articles.