PORTAGE | A Columbus man is being held in Columbia County Jail, accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.
In his initial appearance before Judge Alan J. White in Columbia County Circuit Court on Wednesday, Steven P. Rist, 43, was charged with two felony charges: one of child enticement and another for exposure. He was also charged with three misdemeanor counts of fourth degree sexual assault.
The accusations surround the events of Friday, June 19, when according to court documents, a 16-year-old girl was at Rist’s home. Over the course of the night and early morning, during which alcohol was involved, Rist is accused of pulling the girl into a bathroom to talk to her, which then escalated to a sexual encounter.
The next morning, he drove her home.
When a detective with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office asked him about the allegations, Rist reportedly told the officer that he sent someone to get the girl so he could talk to her that night and that two or three times he was in the bathroom with her. In regards to the next morning, his testimony apparently agreed with the girl’s in that he told officers that he gave the girl a ride home.
“He has one previous criminal case,” Assistant District Attorney Troy Cross pointed out to the court during the hearing in a request for imposition of a significant cash bail, referring to a 2010 case in which Rist was charged with battery, intimidation and disorderly conduct.
However, the first two charges in that case were dismissed and as defense attorney Leonie Dulch pointed out, it was concluded with a citation and issuance of a fine.
White set bail for Rist’s release at $500 cash and ordered that Rist next return to court for a hearing on July 31.