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Court upholds child rape conviction for Oak Harbor man
An Oak Harbor man convicted in the rape and assault of a 21-month-old child lost on appeal.
In an unpublished opinion dated Nov. 18, the State Court of Appeals affirmed Ryan A. Stephenson’s conviction for first-degree rape and assault of the child in the first degree.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme was happy with the ruling. He handled the case against Stephenson, 28, in a 2012 trial so disturbing that jurors were offered mental health counseling afterward.
“I am pleased that because the Court of Appeals upheld the rulings of the trial court,” he said, “that the victim can rest easier knowing that there is very little chance Mr. Stephenson will ever be able to victimize her, or anyone else, again.”
Judge Alan Hancock sentenced Stephenson to an exceptional sentence of 60 years to life last year.
In May 2011, Stephenson raped his girlfriend’s little girl so savagely that she had to undergo emergency surgery. He also forced her into a backpack and kicked her repeatedly.
Stephenson’s appeals attorneys argued that the trial judge erred by denying a request to instruct the jury on a lesser-degree assault offense and that a handwritten notation on the sentencing document would prohibit him from receiving early release credits.
In addition, Stephenson submitted a hand-written appeal in which he offered yet another version of events. He wrote that he forced the little girl into a freezer and that, somehow, caused her penetration injuries.
The Appeals Court judges, however, agreed with the prosecution that the judge did not err. In addition, the judges ruled that Stephenson’s new assertion rest on matters outside the record and cannot be addressed in the appeal.
Stephenson can file a motion for reconsideration or can seek review by the state Supreme Court.