Former Alabama KKK leader sentenced to prison for sex crime

OZARK, Ala. -- A onetime Ku Klux Klan leader is going to prison after being convicted of sexually abusing his former girlfriend in southern Alabama.

The Dothan Eagle reports a Dale County judge sentenced 31-year-old Steven Joshua Dinkle to 10 years in prison. Circuit Judge William Fillmore also fined him $1,000 in an order signed Thursday.

Dinkle was convicted of sexual abuse in June after prosecutors claimed he recorded himself sexually abusing his ex-girlfriend while she was incapacitated by medication, reports CBS affiliate WTVY. A letter from the victim filed this week in court asks for a tough sentence for Dinkle.

"Don't go easy on him like everyone else. Show him there are consequences for his actions," the woman wrote.

Prosecutor Kirke Adams says the judge gave Dinkle the maximum sentence.

Federal authorities said Dinkle once was the leader of the Ozark branch of the International Keystone Knights, a KKK group based in Arkansas. His mother was the chapter secretary, according to the Justice Department.

Dinkle was indicted in 2013 on charges of helping burn a large cross four years earlier near a predominantly black neighborhood in Ozark, located about 85 miles southeast of Montgomery. He later pleaded guilty to hate crime and obstruction charges.

Dinkle's mother, Pamela Morris, pleaded guilty in 2014 after being accused of lying to grand jurors about her involvement in the Klan, court documents show.

Sentenced to two years in prison, Dinkle was released on probation and later charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a pistol in April 2016.

The state sentence will run concurrently with a 15-month federal term that Dinkle received on the gun charge, records show.

Dinkle reportedly did not testify during his sex abuse trial. His lawyer has said he maintains his innocence. He plans to file an appeal.

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