Bond denied for man accused of exposing himself in detergent aisle

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 12:12 PM EDT
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GROVETOWN, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Bond was denied for a man arrested on suspicion of a lewd act in public for at least the third time.

Columbia County deputies say Michael Scott Stephens, 28, was masturbating in front of a fellow shopper in the detergent aisle at a Dollar General store.

He was arrested Tuesday after the incident Saturday afternoon in the store at 5380 Columbia Road. The victim, a 29-year-old woman, said she felt someone had been following her, and she screamed when she turned around and saw what he was doing with his exposed genitals. He fled the store, deputies said.

The recent arrest of a repeat offender accused of public indecency is sparking questions about the court process for sex offenders.

Stephens is accused of exposing himself inside a Columbia County Dollar General. Caurey Rollins, a former teacher’s aide, has been indicted on eight counts of child molestation.

Both have been arrested and booked for other incidents, but at one point made bond to get out of jail.

Stephens will remain behind bars without bond.

The courts also ruled him a danger to the community. His victims tell News 12 he was a danger to the community three charges ago.

“I had faith for a little while that he was going to get what he deserved. And now I don’t need more. So, I’m angry, I want our voices to be heard,” said one victim who wished to stay anonymous.

Stephens was arrested on a charge of public indecency, third or subsequent conviction. On that same day, he was denied bond on the grounds that he’s a danger to people, community or property.

After watching Stephens’ pattern of public indecency charges, his victims have questions.

“How many times does he have to do it before they look at him and say, ‘Yeah, you know what this man is a predator,” she said.

We took a deeper look and found Stephens has been charged and convicted three different times for public indecency, starting at a Groveton Walmart in 2018.

“I saw movement of the corner of my eye, but I looked away again because it was just movement. But then something me was like, ‘Wait, what was that?’ And I looked over. And it was Michael Scott Stephens, and he had unzipped his pants. And he was pleasuring himself staring directly at me making eye contact,” the victim said.

That may be because this wasn’t his first arrest on similar charges.

On March 3, 2019, he allegedly walked around the Walmart at 260 Bobby Jones Expressway with his private parts exposed, according to an arrest warrant. When one of the four victims made eye contact, he chuckled, according to the warrant.

At that time, he was out on bond for charges in connection with two other incidents. He was accused of performing “a lewd exposure of his sexual organs” on June 6, 2018, at the Walmart at 5010 Steiner Way in Grovetown and on Nov. 5, 2018, at LuLu’s car wash at 232 Bobby Jones Expressway.

Another victim, who also wished to stay anonymous, said: “As I go to plug the vacuum back in, I had turned around the opposite direction and I’m facing the front of his car. And I realized that earlier when I noticed how fidgety he was all of these signs.”

She then realized he was touching himself in his car.

“And I panicked because I realized like, ‘Oh my God, my daughter can see everything because of the position of the car,’” she said.

As part of his punishment for his three prior convictions, he was ordered to go to a 12-week sex addiction program in Woodstock, Ga. But because all of his convictions are misdemeanors, he is not registered as a sex offender.

His victims feel the justice system has taken too long to act.

“In my personal opinion, it seems as though he knows what he can get away with. He’s testing those limits and stretching those boundaries to see when enough is finally going to be enough. And if we don’t finally say enough, is enough, he’s going to really hurt somebody. And it’s not just going to be mentally,” she said.

We are working to sit down with the Columbia County Distant Attorney’s Office to learn about the process they go through when it comes to keeping people like Stephens off the street to protect the public.

Meanwhile, Caurey Rollins will be in court later this month for a motion hearing.

Jail records show Rollins faces a charge of criminal attempt to commit a felony on top of eight other grand jury molestation charges. His last bond was denied.