Navy man found not guilty of rape

A jury returned a verdict of not guilty last week following the trial of a 25-year-old former Navy man accused of rape.

Kenneth Steiner, Jr., of New Jersey testified in his own defense during the four-and-a-half-day trial. He admitted having sex with the alleged victim, but he said it was consensual.

Island County Deputy Prosecutor Patrick McKenna tried the case, which he said was challenging because of the issue of intoxication and a delay in prosecution, as well as the inherent lack of evidence in alleged date rape cases.

The Navy originally handled the case, he said, but the Naval Criminal Investigative Service referred it to the county prosecutor nearly two years after it occurred. The incident happened in March of 2006.

McKenna said he argued that the woman “could not validly consent” to sex because she was too intoxicated. But the amount of alcohol she consumed was in dispute throughout the trial.

The incident occurred in a home in Oak Harbor after a night of drinking at a bar at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. The victim and another woman met Steiner and his friend at the bar. They all ended up at the home.

Both of the women reported they had been raped after they passed out from drinking.

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