Man Accused In Child Shrine Case Pleads Guilty, Sentenced To 10 Years

Man Accused In Child Shrine Case Pleads Guilty, Sentenced To 10 Years

CREATED May 28, 2014
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn. - A Montgomery County man who police said built a shrine dedicated to a 9-year old girl will spend a decade behind bars.

The Leaf Chronicle reported 64-year old Lenzo Grooms entered a guilty plea to aggravated sexual battery and agreed to serve ten years. He will be eligible for parole after serving 85 percent of his sentence.

He also must register as a violent sex offender and will be on community supervision for life.
Police arrested Grooms after an investigation that grew out of a tip. Police said Grooms had a photo business charging $20 to take pictures of neighborhood girls.

The young girl was taken to his house by a family friend to have photographs taken between October 2012 and January 2013. The 9-year-old girl was given money and gifts in exchange for the pictures, and police said Grooms set up a bedroom for the girl to stay in.

Authorities said his living room walls were covered with photos of the 9-year-old and writings that called her his "queen" and his "god-bride."

Officers said during one visit Grooms inappropriately touched the girl. The 64-year old man told police he felt he was married to the child.

Grooms underwent a mental evaluation following his arrest in February 2013, and he was found competent to stand trial.

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(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)