Accused child molester’s conviction reversed on appeal

An Oak Harbor man convicted of child molestation is back in Island County.

An Oak Harbor man convicted of child molestation is back in Island County after an appeals court reversed his conviction and remanded his case for a new trial.

Coy Bozeman, 55, appeared in Island County Superior Court Monday after being transported from prison. He was released on bail the following day.

Judge pro tem Vickie Churchill set his bail at $75,000 but denied the defense attorney’s request that Bozeman be allowed to stay with his family in Oregon pending a possible retrial.

A tentative new trial is set for June 13.

In 2021, a jury in Island County Superior Court found Bozeman guilty of three counts of child molestation in the first degree. The jury found he molested a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old girl after he and his wife took three young girls into their home and cared for them over about six months, from the fall of 2018 to spring of 2019.

The jury found him not guilty of molesting the third girl, who was 6 years old at the time of the allegations.

The judge sentenced Bozeman, a retired Navy man, to an indeterminate sentence of 98 months to life.

The case made regional headlines because Bozeman and his wife had owned a preschool in Oak Harbor, although there were no allegations that any crimes occurred at the facility. Bozeman has maintained his innocence.

After he was sentenced to prison, Bozeman appealed his conviction. The Appeals Court found that the trial judge abused her discretion in excluding evidence that the girls may have read pages from a journal written by an older stepdaughter that detailed instances of sexual abuse in another home. The defense argued that the girls got ideas for making up sexual abuse allegations from the journal.