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‘Druid’ ruse lured Island County girl to be raped

A 53-year-old carnival worker is being held in Alabama on a $500,000 warrant out of Island County for allegedly raping a girl numerous times after convincing her that the sex acts were part of a Druid religion, court documents indicate.

Prosecutors charged Daniel Doherty, a former Oak Harbor resident, in Island County Superior Court with one count of child molestation in the first degree, one count of rape of a child in the first degree and 14 counts of rape of a child in the second degree.

If convicted of the charges against him, Doherty could face more than 20 years in prison under the standard sentencing range.

Detective Laura Price with the Island County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case after the alleged victim, who is now 21 years old, came to her office and reported the abuse last month.

The woman claimed that Doherty raped and molested her from the ages of about 11 to 19. She said the sexual assaults were frequent, usually one or more times a week.

“He convinced her that she should keep their relationship a secret, and that the sexual acts were part of a Druid religion where they were pleasing the Goddess, Epona,” Price wrote.

The woman claimed Doherty sexually assaulted her every Equinox and Solstice in “celebration,” the report states. He told her that the sex acts “strengthened the bond between Druid teacher and student,” the detective wrote.

The woman described an incident in 2002 when she had friends sleeping over and Doherty asked her to wake them so he could sexually assault them. When she refused, he forcefully raped her on the couch, the report indicates.

Price wrote that Doherty left Whidbey Island in April of 2009 and moved to Alabama, where he works for a carnival company. On Thursday, Price said Doherty is in custody in Alabama on the Island County warrant, but she didn’t know when he will be sent to Island County. Of course, there’s always a chance he will make bail.

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