Oak Harbor toddler needs surgery after rape
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
June 6, 2011 · Updated 9:38 AM
An Oak Harbor man was arrested over Memorial Day weekend for allegedly raping a 20-month-old girl he was babysitting and causing such a severe injury that the toddler had to undergo reconstructive surgery, court documents indicate.
A doctor who works at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Harborview Medical Center and specializes in treating victims of sexual assault called the case “the worst ... trauma she has even seen in 20 years of practicing medicine,” the police report states.
Island County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme charged 26-year-old Ryan Stephenson in Superior Court Wednesday with the first-degree rape of a child. The charge includes six aggravating circumstances which would allow a judge to sentence him beyond the standard range.
Ohme said the detectives are continuing the investigation.
“There may or may not be more charges added as more information comes in as well,” he said.
Detective Tony Slowik with the Oak Harbor Police started investigating the case on May 27 after personnel at Whidbey General Hospital reported that the little girl was in the hospital because of large tears and severe bleeding.
The girl’s mother told the detective that her ex-boyfriend, Stephenson, had been babysitting the girl and a 5-year-old boy. Stephenson had previously been convicted of harassment for sending oddly threatening messages, which he signed “Lord Sparta,” to a man who happened to be the father of victim in the rape case. He was also convicted of violating a restraining order by contacting the victim’s mother, who is his ex-girlfriend.
In an interview with the detective, Stephenson admitted that he probably caused the injuries to the child, but he denied raping her and suggested the injuries occurred when he beat her. He said he lost his temper with the child twice and beat her with a closed fist on the bottom and between her legs, Slowik’s report states.
Stephenson also suggested the injuries could have occurred when he bounced her on his knee or stretched her legs apart, the report states.
The child was transferred from Whidbey General to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment.
“The sexual assault doctor” for Harborview and Seattle Children’s Hospital reported that the child underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the injuries.
“She described (the child’s) injuries as severe trauma and said ‘this injury comes from penetration not from being hit,’” Slowik wrote.
If convicted of the charge, Stephenson could face an indeterminate sentence of up to life in prison with a minimum sentence of eight and a half years to 11 years and three months in prison. An indeterminate sentence means he would have to serve at least the minimum sentence, but then a special review board at the prison would decide whether to release him after that.
The aggravating circumstances or additional charges could increase the minimum sentence.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at email@example.com or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.