Stephen Jessee
Stephen Jessee

A jury took about 45 minutes to find a York County man guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage girl for nearly four years, starting when she was 14 years old.

The crimes happened between 2006 and 2010 at Stephen Noel Jessee's former home in North Codorus Township.

Jessee, 45, of Westgate Drive, was convicted Tuesday of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and corruption of minors.

Sentencing is set for July 28.

Before he is sentenced, Jessee must undergo a state Megan's Law assessment to determine if he should be deemed a sexually violent predator, deputy prosecutor Stephen McDonald said.

Appeal planned: "He's disappointed with the verdict," defense attorney Kevin Hoffman said of his client. "He maintains his innocence."

Hoffman said Jessee plans to appeal.

McDonald managed to get a quick conviction despite the fact the victim, who is now 22, changed her story on the witness stand, he said.

At trial, the victim said she and Jessee had sex once or twice when she was 17-1/2 years old, but not before that, according to McDonald.

Story changed: McDonald said he was able to show jurors the victim was being pressured to change her testimony or risk a child-custody battle. At age 17, she became pregnant with Jessee's child — a fact jurors also heard, the prosecutor said.

"I think the jury could see the whole picture," McDonald said. "It's not unusual for people to change their positions ... but that doesn't change the fact that a crime was committed against a child."

Jessee is facing a lengthy state-prison sentence, according to McDonald, who said he has the option of seeking a 10-year mandatory sentence on the involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charge.

Charges dropped: Jessee's wife, April Jessee, who lives in Spring Garden Township, initially faced the same charges as her husband, for allegedly taking "extraordinary steps" to help the child molestation happen, Southwestern Regional Police said at the time.

But prosecutors withdrew the charges against April Jessee on Jan. 22 after it became clear Stephen Jessee's victim and other witnesses were reluctant to testify against her, according to McDonald.

"The main case was always against Stephen Jessee anyway," he said.

Public defender Joshua Neiderhiser, who represented April Jessee, said she always denied having any knowledge of sexual contact between her husband and the victim.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.