Child molester guilty | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Child molester guilty

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

As guilty verdicts were read Monday on charges related to the sexual molestation of a child, 42-year-old Rudolph Steele stared ahead before reaching for a tissue to wipe his eye.

A jury found Steele guilty on charges including sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts on a child, penetration of a foreign object, child endangerment, exposing another to a communicable disease and two counts of oral copulation.

A special allegation that Steele committed the acts with the knowledge he had AIDS was found true and attached to the sodomy and oral copulation charges.

He faces a maximum of 22 years and 10 months in state prison.

The jury of nine women and three men were handed the case around 2:30 p.m. It took the group less than two hours to reach a consensus.

“We had to look at a lot of the evidence,” said jury foreman Chris Lucas. “The defense and prosecution raised a lot of good points.”

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“The evidence spoke for itself,” Lucas added.

Defense attorney Lori London declined comment.

Deputy District Attorney Peter O’Hara gave credit to the mom of the child, now 5 years old, for coming forward.

“She really stood up for no personal gain (but) just because it was the right thing to do,” he said.

The four-day trial had the boy testify after he passed three qualifications on communication and truth telling. The boy testified Steele molested him last year at a residence on Player Circle.

O’Hara told the jury to concentrate on the boy’s testimony.

“It’s really simple,” O’Hara said. “If you believe (the boy), you are staring into the face of a child molester.”

The prosecution was aided with medical evidence showing signs of molestation.

Steele repeatedly denied sexually molesting the boy during interviews with detectives. London didn’t question that the boy was molested, but who did it.

She questioned why the boy continued to want to visit Steele after the incidents took place and indicated differences in the boy’s answers.

“He inconsistently tells you what happened and where,” London said.

Steele is a candidate for chemical castration. The decision will be made by the court. Sentencing was scheduled for June 19 at El Dorado County Superior Court.

— E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com

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