From Elmore county-- A Tallassee man accused of raping eight children under the age of 12 is in court for a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors say the evidence they've compiled is horrific, and the victims are anxious for it to be over.
Steven Conrad is facing 109 charges of raping eight children. Four of the alleged victims were family members.
If he is found guilty, Conrad could be behind bars for the rest of his life.
Alabama News Network was the only television station there when Conrad made his way into court.
Conrad's attorney asked the judge to reduce his $5,400,000 bond. The judge denied that request saying this is "a serious, serious matter" and that he feels Conrad is "a danger to other people."
Tallassee Police Chief Jimmy Rodgers says Conrad admitted to abusing eight children after he was arrested last month. Since his arrest, Rodgers says they've reached out to mental facilities in Elmore County.
"We have not been able to verify if he has any mental disorders," says Rodgers.
Over the last ten years, Rodgers says Conrad would form a relationship with a woman, and once the woman felt comfortable to leave Conrad alone with her child, that's when he says the abuse would happen.
Conrad was unemployed when he was arrested.
"Most of the places he has been employed at were fast food restaurants," says Rodgers. "As late as last year, he worked at one of the chain restaurants in Wetumpka"
Conrad's wife, Brandy Conrad, and his two friends, Helen Ganntt and Jeffery Ray, are also behind bars. They are accused of knowing about the alleged sexual abuse but not telling police.
All four cases will head to grand jury on July 8.
"I don't anticipate any problems the grand jury will have in this particular case," says Chief Asst. District Attorney C.J. Robinson.
Rodgers says the victims and their families are undergoing counseling.
"Hopefully the scars of this traumatic experience can easily be passed," he says. "A couple of them are older children and late teens now, so they are struggling with it a little more than the younger ones."
Elmore Co. Sheriff Bill Franklin says because of the nature of the crime, Conrad does not have contact with other inmates. He says Conrad is in a holding cell but that will eventually change.
Tallassee Police say several other children have come forward, but investigators say there haven't been signs of abuse.