Accused child molester cuts off ankle monitor, disappears

Kenneth Dustin Grant was scheduled to go on trial in Forsyth County Sept. 20 for charges he sexually assaulted a relative’s 15-year-old daughter.

But on Sept. 18, two days before the trail was to begin, Grant cut off his electronic ankle monitor, tossed it into Lake Lanier and disappeared.

Prosecutors, his attorney and the girl realized he was gone when he didn't show up for court.

He’s still missing.

The day of reckoning that the teenage girl had hoped for but still dreaded was delayed. She fears it may never come.

“She didn’t take it well,” the mother said of her now-17-year-old daughter. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not publish the names of victims of sexual assaults.]

“The monitor was sending a distress signal for two days that no one saw because no one was monitoring the folks on the ankle bracelets over the weekend,” said the mother of the girl.

"We blame whoever didn't do their job, either the monitoring company or the person with the court," the mother said "We have not gotten a clear answer on who dropped the ball."

The person who was the contact for the monitoring company had gone on vacation to Disney World, prosecutors said. There was no one assigned to take calls from the monitoring company if an alert was sent.

“I had warned them that this could happen," Chief Assistant District Attorney Sandra Partridge said of Grant’s escape. “I felt frustrated and angry that he absconded and I was sad for the victim and her family.”

Partridge had told the family after a court hearing two months ago that she expected Grant to run.

Forsyth District Attorney Penny Penn said the break down was between the monitoring company and the court’s pretrial services. “The person who was at Disney World is the director of pretrial services, Jaime Tavenier,” Penn said. “He doesn’t work for the monitoring company. They notify him when there’s an issue.”

Tavenier declined to comment because there is an investigation into what happened. He confirmed, however, that Grant “absconded on September, 18, 2010.” He declined to provide the name of the monitoring company. "I cannot release that information at this time," Tavenier said in an e-mail.

Other court officers said they did not know which monitoring company had the contract, referring that question to Tavenier.

All the while, a bench warrant has been issued and the U.S. Marshal’s Service also is looking for Grant, known to his friends as Dustin.

A friend of the family set up a page on Facebook.com -- Help Find Dustin Grant. The mother said they were trying everything they could think of to get his face before the public.

The mother said her daughter is hoping that, once Grant is captured, he will plead guilty so a trial will be unnecessary. That would mean the photographs Grant allegedly took of her during the attack won't be shared.

“She didn’t want her daddy to see them. She certainly doesn’t want a jury or anybody else to see them,” the mother told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

If convicted, he would go away for a long time. Some of those crimes don't allow parole either.

Grant was charged with 23 felonies – four counts of aggravated sexual battery, four counts of child molestation and three counts of sexual exploitation of children involving the girl.  He also was charged with 12 counts of sexual exploitation of children after a forensic examination of the computer by Georgia Bureau of Investigation allegedly turned up child porn involving young girls who are not identified.

But they were able to identify one -- the girl's older sister. The mother said her other daughter didn't know she had also been assaulted until she saw the photos; she appeared to be unconscious during it.

The assault of the younger girl was on the night before Thanksgiving in 2008. The divorced Grant had asked her to babysit his sons and to stay all night because he expected to be out late.

While the boys – then 2 and 4 – slept, Grant allegedly drugged the girl and assaulted her.

“Anything you can do to somebody he did to her,” the mother said. “She was powerless. She remembers it. She couldn’t speak. She told me, ‘I tried to fight back and I couldn’t even lift my arms.’”

The next morning Grant drove the girl home and for two weeks she kept a secret. Eventually she told her best friend and the friend told the mother.

The GBI’s computer technicians recovered more than 140 pictures, the mother said, including some of her older daughter and of other girls.

“I don’t know who any of these children were,” the mother said.

Grant, 42, has been missing almost three weeks. He was indicted Oct. 5 a year ago. He was released on Jan. 7 after posting a $75,000 bond. He also was put on house arrest but allowed to leave to report to pretrial services or court or to see his attorney. Those conditions were to be guaranteed by the ankle monitor.

“He was looking at mandatory time and he ditched,” Partridge said. “He needs to be found.”