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Teen sex abuse case produces Alford plea

Prosecutors settled a difficult case earlier this month against a 32-year-old Oak Harbor man who was accused of sexually assaulting a teenaged boy.

Under a plea bargain, Eletise Asoau pleaded guilty by way of an Alford plea in Island County Superior Court March 3 to attempted child molestation in the second degree. Under an Alford plea, Asoau doesn’t admit guilt and asserts his innocence, but acknowledges that the prosecutor likely has enough evidence to convict him at trial.

At an April 13 hearing, Judge Alan Hancock sentenced Asoau to 11.25 months in jail followed by three years of probation. He also ordered Asoau to pay $1,217 in fines and fees.

Asoau will have to register as a sex offender after getting out of jail. He was originally charged with the rape of a child in the second degree.

Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme explained that he accepted the plea bargain in order to avoid the risk of going to trial and losing. It would have been a difficult trial, he said, because the victim and witness had significant difference in their versions of the events.

In addition, a couple of adults were going to testify that the boys told them they made up the allegations because Asoau is gay.

In fact, Asoau has consistently denied the allegations. In the pre-sentence investigation, he also told the corrections officer that he was innocent and that the boys made up the story because they don’t like his sexual orientation or the fact that he’s a cross dresser.

Oak Harbor Detective Mike Bailey investigated the case after a teenaged boy who lives in the apartment reported that Asoau had raped his 13-year-old friend in September.

In an interview with the detective, the victim said he was sleeping on the couch when he awoke to find Asoau performing an unwanted sex act on him, the report states.

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