GREENFIELD — Imagine your deepest, darkest secret, Prosecutor Cathy Wilson instructed the jury.
Imagine it’s something so painful and difficult that you tuck it away inside and pretend it isn’t real, she said; that even when given the chance to reveal that secret, you feel like you can’t.
It’s the reality 36-year-old Steven Grogan of Shirley created for one local teenager, Wilson said. One filled with rape, violence, hurtful threats and lies.
Story continues below gallery
Grogan is standing trial before a panel of 12 Hancock County residents in Hancock Circuit Court. He faces five assault-related allegations, including three Level 3 felony counts of rape, records show.
His rape trial, which began Tuesday, is the first to go before a jury in Hancock County in nearly a decade, officials said. All other cases carrying the same allegation have ended in plea agreements or dismissals, officials said.
Grogan was charged earlier this year after the teen came forward to tell investigators she’d been abused for years by the man, court documents state.
The girl told police she often lay motionless in her bed while he sexually assaulted her, silent until the abuse was over, according to court documents.
During one interview with investigators, the girl said “she would close her eyes and pray as it was happening and just try to get through it,” according to court documents.
Grogan denies the allegations; he’s hired Allen Lidy of Mooresville to represent him at trial.
In his opening statement to the jury Tuesday, Lidy said Grogan’s accuser isn’t trustworthy.
The girl is expected to take the witness stand during the proceedings to tell the jury the story of her abuse. But it’s a story that can’t be corroborated, Lidy said.
The victim said Grogan abused her regularly over the course of a year whenever they were alone together at his Shirley home, according to court records.
The abuse was both sexual and physical, she told police, reporting that Grogan forced her to engage in various sex acts and beat her if she resisted him, records state.
Police began investigating Grogan after a series of reports were made to the Indiana Department of Child Services.
It was a therapist the DCS had ordered the girl to see who first heard the teen’s story, according to testimony.
The counselor took the stand Tuesday afternoon to tell the jury she’d taken the victim to the Starbucks in Greenfield for their session that day, figuring a change of scenery would help the girl to open up.
The woman said she’d seen a few notes in the girl’s DCS case file that concerned her, and she decided to asked the girl if her relationship with Grogan was inappropriate.
Immediately, the teen appeared uncomfortable, the counselor said. The girl asked if they could leave the coffee shop, and on the drive back home, she remained nearly silent, the counselor testified.
“She was trying not to cry,” the counselor said.
The counselor said she stopped at a gas station and asked the girl one last time if she wanted to share anything that had happened.
And sitting in the car in that gas station parking lot, the girl suddenly broke down. She curled up into the seat, tucking her knees up to her chin, then spent more than two hours detailing the abuse she’d suffered, the counselor told the jury.
Grogan is being held in the Hancock County Jail without bond, records show.
Each of the Level 3 felony counts of rape Grogan faces carries a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison; the Class B misdemeanor of battery Grogan faces carried a maximum penalty of 180 days behind bars.
Grogan also faces one Level 5 felony that carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison.
The trial is scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. today in Hancock Circuit Court. Proceedings are open to the public.