May 20, 2020
Jackson Gardner

A 74-year-old Onalaska man accused of sexually abusing two girls about two years ago made his preliminary appearance in Lewis County Superior Court on Monday.
The man was charged with third-degree rape of a child, first-degree child molestation, first-degree incest and second-degree incest.
The Chronicle is not naming the suspect in an effort to protect the identities of the victims.
Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead requested that bail be set at $100,000 per victim for a total of $200,000, and also asked for sexual assault protection orders to be imposed to prevent the man from contacting the alleged victims.
The man’s attorney for the day, Rachael Tiller, requested bail be set at $50,000 unsecured, noting that he has no criminal history in the state of Washington and suffers from a number of health issues.
“(The defendant) made it very clear he is not around any minors at this time,” Tiller added.
Judge James Lawler sided with the defense and set bail at $50,000 unsecured due to the allegations being at least a year old. Unsecured bail allows a person to sign a promise to appear and be released without posting bail or a bond.
Lawler also issued the sexual assault protection orders for the alleged victims.
According to the probable cause report, on April 30 a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detective followed up on a Child Protective Services referral where a 13-year-old girl, who was living with the suspect, reported that he had made sexual comments about her body and referred to her as a “sex toy.”
The girl participated in a forensic interview where she reported to the detective she had been sexually abused by the suspect two years ago when she was 11 years old.
After the girl’s mother learned of the disclosure, she asked her 16-year-old daughter if the suspect had done anything inappropriate to her, according to the report.
First in a note to her mother, and then in a forensic interview with the detective, the girl reported that the suspect had sexually abused her as well.
According to the report, she was 14 years old at the time of the alleged abuse.
When the detective contacted the suspect, he initially reported he had not touched the girls, but later admitted that he had touched them.
In the interview, the suspect reportedly claimed he touched the girl who was 14 years old “to show her what boys might try to do to her.”
Additionally, the suspect admitted to sexually abusing the girl who was 11 years old at the time of the alleged incident.


Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.

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