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North Myrtle Beach businessman sentenced to prison in sexual assault case

A North Myrtle Beach businessman entered an Alford plea to a charge of lewd act on a minor and was ordered to serve two years in prison and five years on probation, according to court records.

Circuit Court Judge Larry Hyman sentenced 49-year-old Panteleimon N. Spirakis to five years in prison, but suspended that sentence if he serves two years in prison and five years on probation, court records showed.

In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges a jury would likely convict based on the evidence.

Attorneys in the case were not available for comment.

Spirakis entered the Alford plea Tuesday to the charge, which stemmed from his ex-girlfriend’s daughter telling police he sexually assaulted her for about three years that began in 2005.

Hyman ordered Spirakis to have no contact with the victim after he is released from prison, undergo counseling and register a sex offender

At the time of his arrest in November 2008, police said the girl, who was 16, told them Spirakis threatened her with a knife to prevent her from telling anyone that he made her undress, fondled her breast and may have drugged her, according to a police report.

The girl also said Spirakis made video recordings and took pictures of her. The girl’s mother learned of the incidents and reported it to police.

Spirakis is the owner of Phil's Lock & Key on U.S. 17 Business.

More details will be posted as they become available.

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