News

Oak Harbor man, 57, pleads guilty to raping boys

Ronald Asplund appears in Island County Superior Court Monday to plead guilty to two counts of child rape in the second degree. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Ronald Asplund appears in Island County Superior Court Monday to plead guilty to two counts of child rape in the second degree.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

A 57-year-old Oak Harbor man who was involved in various youth-related entities in the community pleaded guilty to raping two boys.

Ronald Asplund appeared in Island County Superior Court Monday dressed in the bright orange jail uniform. He quietly pleaded guilty to two counts of child rape in the second degree for assaulting the two children when they were 12 and 13 years old.

As part of the plea bargain, the prosecution dismissed several other charges against Asplund. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 27 and is facing an indeterminate sentence of up to life in prison with a minimum sentence range of 8.5 to 11 years and three months in prison.

Asplund volunteered as a middle school ministry coordinator at the Oak Harbor Lutheran Church, which was how he met one of the boys. He molested the boy at a “lock-in” event at the church, according to the police report.

In addition, Asplund volunteered as a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County.

He worked with children through the Navy’s former SAFE program, which offered before and after school daycare at Oak Harbor elementary schools. And he worked as a substitute teacher at Oak Harbor schools for a limited time in 2000 and 2005.

Asplund, however, wasn’t accused of assaulting children he met through programs besides the church.

Detective Sgt. Teri Gardner with the Oak Harbor Police Department said she and another detective were contacted by people from other communities who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Asplund as children, but they didn’t want to come forward publicly.

Asplund suffers from lung cancer and is wearing a device which pumps chemotherapy drugs into his body. While he’s been in jail since the beginning of May, it has cost the city of Oak Harbor about $1,000 a day to provide him with the chemotherapy.

Once he goes to prison, the state will be responsible for the tab.

The Oak Harbor police investigated Asplund in 2006 for allegedly molesting a boy, but there wasn’t enough evidence at the time to charge him.

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Aug 20 edition online now. Browse the archives.