Guilty pleas in two crimes against children cases

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John Lee Stevenson
John Lee Stevenson

Two Wilmington men received years-long prison sentences this week in two unrelated cases involving children.

John Lee Stevenson Jr., 27, pleaded guilty Tuesday in New Hanover County Superior Court to attempted felony child abuse, according to District Attorney Ben David. Superior Court Judge Phyllis Gorham sentenced Stevenson to 82-111 months in the N.C. Department of Corrections.

Stevenson, of South 15th Street in Wilmington, was arrested in August 2015 for reportedly burning his 5-year-old child’s hand on a hot stove as a punishment. According to Wilmington Police Department Spokeswoman Cathryn Lindsay, it was several days after the incident before the boy was medically treated for severe burns at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

The case was a result of a joint investigation with Wilmington Police Department and the New Hanover County Department of Social Services, David said. The injury resulted in second degree burns to the child’s hand.

In another plea Tuesday, Chistopher Courchesne pleaded guilty to child sex offense charges involving a 12-year-old child of a family friend. During the investigation, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office searched the defendant’s computer and found dozens of lewd images of children, David said.

Christopher John Courchesne
Christopher John Courchesne

Courchesne, 35, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted first-degree sex offense with a child, taking indecent liberties with a child and three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in the case. Judge Gorham sentenced him to 206-335 months in the N.C. Department of Corrections.

After serving his prison sentence, Courchesne is required to register as a sex offender for life.