Oak Harbor man charged in alleged child rape from 1996

An Oak Harbor man was recently charged with raping a young girl 14 years ago, court documents indicate.

Prosecutors charged Steven Nelson in Island County Superior Court June 8 with rape of a child in the first degree. He pleaded not guilty June 21.

Last month, an Oak Harbor woman reported to Detective Sgt. Teri Gardner with the Oak Harbor Police Department that she found out that Nelson had raped and molested her daughters when they were young, Gardner’s report states.

The detective interviewed the two young women, who both claimed Nelson had raped and molested them in 1996, the report states. The younger girl, who is now 19, said that the girls were staying in a home with Nelson. She said one night, when she was 5 years old, Nelson called her into the bathroom. Her older sister, who is developmentally delayed, had just left the bathroom crying.

Nelson allegedly raped the child after making her take off her clothes, the report states.

Gardner wrote that Nelson denied that he raped the girls, but said he might have had them scratch his back.

According to Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme, the statute of limitations for first-degree child rape, if the victim was under 14 when it occurred, doesn’t kick in until the victim is 28 years old.

If convicted of the charge, Nelson could face from 11 and a half years to 15 years and four months in prison under the standard sentencing range.

Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock halved Nelson’s bail to $50,000 at the June 21 hearing.

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