Child molester pleads guilty, facing prison

A 70-year-old Oak Harbor man with a long history of child molestation accusations against him is facing at least six years in prison.

Douglas R. Duenwald pleaded guilty to one count of child molestation in the first degree and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree Monday in Island County Superior Court.

Under a plea bargain, both the prosecutor and defense will recommend at a sentencing hearing later this year that Duenwald received an indeterminate sentence of six years and three months to life in prison.

Also as part of the plea bargain, Duenwald agreed not to object if three of his alleged former victims from Hawaii speak at the sentencing hearing.

In the current case, Duenwald allegedly molested a girl when she was 4 years old. He was a family friend and husband of the family’s babysitter.

During the investigation, a detective discovered that similar allegations were previously made against Duenwald.

In 1995, police responded to a report that Duenwald was with a group of underage girls at a Whidbey beach and was taking photos of one of them in “questionable positions,” the police report states.

The five girls were headed with Duenwald to his van when the police intervened.

Duenwald allegedly told a detective that he had “uncontrollable urges to sexually exploit pre-pubescent females,” the report states. In a search of his house, investigators found a duffel bag containing rope, ladies’ undergarments and a mask with no eye holes.

Prosecutors charged Duenwald in Island County Superior Court in 1996 with communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. Duenwald received a deferred prosecution, meaning the charge was dismissed after he completed the terms of the deal.

Duenwald was assessed by a clinical psychologist at the time who concluded that Duenwald’s “history is one of the most perverse this Evaluator has encountered in 15 years of working nearly full-time with this population,” the report states. The psychologist wrote that Duenwald’s contact with children should be “severely restricted and closely watched.”

In 1997, the prosecutor’s office received a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice saying that the FBI was investigating allegations that Duenwald sexually abused children in Hawaii.

Duenwald was indicted in 2001 on two counts of first-degree sexual assault for “sexually molesting as many as six children ranging from two to six years old in an Army Medical Center housing complex,” the report states. He was convicted of assault in the second degree; the charge was not a sex crime so he didn’t need to register as a sex offender.

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