Crime & Courts

Valley Center man charged with child rape previously faced sex crimes allegations

A Valley Center man arrested after a manhunt earlier this month has been charged with multiple child sex crimes.

Steven Thomas Walters, 37, was charged Monday with three counts of raping a child younger than 14 and one count of aggravated criminal sodomy with a child. He remains in the Sedgwick County Jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond.

Walters was arrested in the early morning of July 6 at West Elementary School. He was the subject of a police manhunt that started the previous morning when Valley Center police were called to a home in the 4200 block of West 89th Street North. Walters lives in that same block, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation violent offender registry.

The charges filed in Sedgwick County District Court allege that all four sex abuse crimes were committed against the same girl, who was either 10 or 11 years old at the time of the crimes. The offenses involved a fiduciary relationship between Walters and the victims, prosecutors said.

One of the child rapes is alleged to have happened on July 5. The other three sex crimes are alleged to have happened between November 2017 and March 2019.

This is not the first time Walters has been arrested and charged with multiple child sex crimes.

In April 2014, Sedgwick County prosecutors charged Walters with sexually assaulting four girls ages 8, 6 and 5, The Eagle previously reported. He faced one count of rape, one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and four counts of aggravated criminal sodomy. The alleged offenses are Jessica’s Law crimes, which carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence of life without parole eligibility for 25 years for those convicted of certain sex crimes with children younger than 14.

As part of a plea deal with the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office, Walters pleaded guilty in 2015 to lesser charges of four felony counts of aggravated battery and two misdemeanor counts of criminal restraint. Kansas sentencing guidelines called for presumptive probation on all counts, court records show.

Walters was sentenced to 24 months probation and 12 months of post-release supervision with an underlying 58 months in prison and 12 months in jail. He was required to register as a violent offender, but not as a sex offender. Kansas Department of Corrections records show his sentence ended in 2017.

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