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Charge added against Oak Harbor man accused of raping toddler
Island County prosecutors added another charge against an Oak Harbor man accused of raping a toddler.
Island County Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill approved the amended charges against defendant Ryan Stephenson during an Oct. 3 hearing. He pleaded not guilty to rape in the first degree with aggravating circumstances and a special allegation and the new charge of attempted assault of a child in the first degree with aggravating circumstances.
The new charge increases the potential sentence that Stephenson would face if convicted. Under the standard sentencing range, Stephenson would face an indeterminate sentence of up to life in prison if convicted of both charges. He would have to serve a minimum sentence of 10 years to 13 years and four months in prison, and then a review board would periodically consider whether he should be released.
The minimum sentence could be even longer, however, if jury found any aggravating circumstances or a special allegation.
For the rape charge, the alleged aggravating circumstance is that the victim was particularly vulnerable or incapable of resistance. The special allegations is that the victim was under the age of 15.
At a Sept. 15 hearing, Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock ruled, over an objection by the Washington State Crime Lab, that a defense expert could either be present when technicians at the Crime Lab analyzes the DNA or could have access to annotated printouts from the testing procedure.
Detective Tony Slowik with the Oak Harbor Police Department started investigating the case on May 27 after personnel at Whidbey General Hospital reported that a 20-month-old little girl was in the emergency room 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.
In an interview with the detective, Stephenson admitted that he probably caused the injuries to the child, but he said it was an accident that occurred when he beat her on the bottom or bounced her on his knee.
The child was transfered from Whidbey General to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment. A “sexual assault nurse” confirmed bruising consistent with being beaten, the detective wrote.
“The sexual assault doctor” for Harborview and Seattle Children’s Hospital reported that the child underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the injuries, the report states.