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Probation for Grass Valley man

40-year-old was messaging minors about their underwear
By: Bridget Jones, Journal staff writer
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A Grass Valley man faces a 3-year prison sentence if he violates the terms of his probation. Steven Lawrence Elliott, 40, was arrested in Grass Valley last July after a Rocklin girl’s mother reported inappropriate texts on her daughter’s cell phone to the Rocklin police department. Elliott had been posing as a 16-year-old boy when he sent the texts, according to detectives. Elliott reportedly contacted the 15-year-old and other girls on Myspace requesting pictures of them in their underwear. The Placer County District Attorney’s Office originally filed 38 counts against Elliott with a total of 14 victims, but ended up dropping 29 of the charges, some of which were out of the Placer County jurisdiction. The remaining counts involved four victims. Elliott pleaded not guilty to all charges, but changed his plea to no contest in May for two of the counts, including annoyance of a child, a misdemeanor, and using another’s identity, a felony. Judge Robert McElhany sentenced Elliott Wednesday in Auburn’s Placer County Jail courtroom to five years probation with the risk of serving a 3-year state prison sentence if he violates the terms of his probation. Several special conditions exist in Elliott’s probation, including Elliott can only use the Internet for work-related reasons while he’s at work, while at home Elliott can only use the Internet for educational or employment purposes, or for other purposes with the permission of his probation officer and his cell phone can’t have an Internet data plan. Elliott must also register as a sex offender. During the sentencing, prosecuting attorney Jeff Wood, standing in for attorney Todd Kuhnen, asked the courtroom if anyone wanted to make statements in Elliott’s case. No one came forward. Elliott, who had been in custody in Auburn’s Placer County Jail since last July, was eligible to be released jail Wednesday, Zimmerman said. Elliott has credit for 495 days served in Placer County Jail, but there is currently a hold on him from Nevada County, according to Kuhnen. Barry Zimmerman, Elliott’s attorney, said he was happy with the sentence. “It was an appropriate sentence,” Zimmerman said. “He has already been evaluated psychologically, he’s not a danger to anyone in the community. He never made physical contact with anyone.” Zimmerman said he thinks Elliott is an educated man who is willing to get counseling, so there would be no reason to send him to prison. Zimmerman said he thinks sex is part of our culture that is difficult to avoid. “It requires parents to monitor what their kids are doing, and it requires the court to step in when there have been abuses,” he said. Prosecuting attorney Todd Kuhnen said Elliott would have to work hard to ensure he doesn’t violate his probation. “Given the very short leash on which the defendant finds himself, there is very little margin for error when it comes to possible future violations of probation,” Kuhnen said. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com