Foster parent on trial for child sex crimes

Jurors will decide this week if a former foster parent sexually abused a boy who was in his care over the course of four years.

According to Assistant District Attorney Beth Lari, George Steen sodomized the child when he was 7- and 8-years-old.

Defense attorney T.J. Wilson told jurors during opening statements Monday afternoon that the boy has a reputation for untruthfulness. The child has been in about 15 foster homes,Wilson said.

The child, now 11, was in court Monday, wearing a dress shirt and slacks and holding a stuffed animal. He will testify against Steen during the trial.

Lari told jurors that the sex crimes happened in Steen’s Lincolnton home from 2007 to 2009. Steen’s wife was not aware of the abuse, Lari said. She was either in another room or not at home when the assaults occurred, Lari said of Steen’s wife.

The boy was placed in another foster care facility in 2009 and that’s when he reported the abuse, according to Lari.

The case is being heard by a Lincoln County jury that was selected Monday afternoon.

Steen and his wife were licensed foster parents from 2005 to 2009, according to the Lincoln County Department of Social Services.

Steen, now 41, was initially arrested in 2009 and held on a $170,000 bond and has since been out on bail. He faces counts of sex offenses with a child.

Steen could face a life sentence if convicted as charged.

Jurors will begin hearing testimony and seeing evidence in the case Tuesday morning at the Lincoln County Courthouse.