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Former Oak Harbor resident admits child molestation, gets sexual deviancy program

A 32-year-old former Oak Harbor resident who cooperated with police and admitted to molesting a child was sentenced under a sentencing alternative that allows sex offenders to serve all or part of their sentence out of custody while participating in a sexual-deviancy treatment program.

Joshua Lawrence, currently a Marysville resident, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court Feb. 8 to three counts of child molestation in the first degree.

Under the plea agreement, the prosecutor promised to recommend to the judge that Lawrence be sentenced under the Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative, if the department of Corrections agrees in the pre-sentence investigation. The Department of Corrections investigators found that Lawrence was a low risk to the community and amenable to treatment.

As a result, Judge Vickie Churchill sentenced Lawrence to nine months in jail and ordered him to comply with a long list of conditions. He must participate and make progress in sexual deviancy treatment, have no unsupervised contact with children and stay away from pornography.

If Lawrence doesn't comply with the conditions, his Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative could be revoked and he could face the entire suspended sentence of 130 months to life in prison.

Oak Harbor Police Detective Mike Bailey started investigating the case last fall after the alleged victim, who was then 13 years old, told a friend that Lawrence had molested her.

The girl wrote a text message to Lawrence, telling him that the things he had done to her were troubling her. She wrote that she was worried he would do the same thing to her sisters. He wrote back that he "would never do that to them" and he was sorry.

The girl said Lawrence first molested her when she was 9 years old. In addition, she said he molested her twice when she was 10 and twice when she was 11 years old, court documents state.

In a phone interview with the detective, Lawrence admitted that he had molested the girl "at least a couple of times." Lawrence told the detective that he didn't know what triggered him to molest the child, but that he was trying to get help for it.

After the phone interview, Lawrence drove to the Oak Harbor Police Department and turned himself in. He told Bailey that "he takes full responsibility in this case and that he deserves whatever is coming to him," court documents state.

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