A Faulkner County couple accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl will stand trial in January.

Charles T. Stepp, 34, and his wife, 30-year-old Nancy N. Humphrey, both face charges in a felony case involving a child victim. The alleged incident occurred in early April 2019.

Online records show that Stepp is charged with rape, a Class Y felony, and that Humphrey is charged with permitting child abuse, a Class B felony, for allegedly instructing her husband to sexually abuse the child as a punishment

The Greenbrier man appeared via video conference shortly before 3:15 p.m. Monday in Faulkner County Circuit Court. Stepp’s attorney, Otto Fry, told court officials the defense team was prepared to set the matter for trial and requested Circuit Judge Troy Braswell to schedule a three-day jury trial in the case against Stepp.

The defense attorney also requested another pretrial hearing prior to the jury trial. “Based upon the allegations” filed against Stepp, Fry said he planned to file “at least [one] motion in limine.”

A three-day jury trial was scheduled to begin Jan. 13. Stepp will also appear Dec. 7 in Faulkner County Circuit Court so that the defense team and senior deputy prosecutor Hugh Finkelstein can address any motions in the rape case.

The Greenbrier man’s wife will stand trial Jan. 21-22.

Humphrey appeared before Judge Braswell shortly before 5 p.m. Monday. During the brief hearing, defense attorney Jordan Cardwell also said he was ready to schedule a jury trial in his client’s case and asked that she also be given a pretrial hearing on Dec. 7 to “run concurrent with” her husband’s case.

Humphrey and Stepp are both currently behind bars in the county jail. The two were previously ordered by Circuit Judge Susan K. Weaver during a first appearance hearing in district court on March 13 to remain behind bars in lieu of $500,000 bonds.

The charges filed against the Greenbrier couple stem from an investigation that launched in April 2019. According to a felony probable cause affidavit, the investigation began after a 9-year-old girl confided in a teacher at the school regarding the alleged abuse.

The girl reportedly told a Greenbrier Public Schools teacher that Humphrey instructed Stepp to violate her as a punishment.

According to the young girl’s statement, Humphrey found her hiding under a kitchen table “and drug her by her leg to the bedroom” so that Stepp could “punish” her for “acting out.” After dragging the girl to the bedroom, Humphrey would watch Stepp sexually abuse the young girl and would “tell [Stepp] when to stop.”

The girl was taken to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital to have a rape kit conducted on her after she disclosed the alleged abuse. Online records indicate a Department of Human Services employee took the girl to the hospital and “remove[d] her from the home.”

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net

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