Defendant’s girlfriend saw no inappropriate behavior |

Defendant’s girlfriend saw no inappropriate behavior

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Closing arguments will begin Monday after prosecution and defense attorneys rested in the trial of a man accused of molesting a 4-year-old boy.

Rudolph Steele, 42, faces a maximum of 23 years in prison if convicted on nine charges related to molestation. On Tuesday at El Dorado County Superior Court, Steele’s former roommate and girlfriend testified they did not observe any inappropriate behavior when the man and the boy were together.

Karen Swasey said Steele was asked to babysit the boy while she and Steele lived together for roughly a year beginning in summer 2001. The boy would sleep on the couch and Steele in a bed, she said.

Swasey said she did not visit the 1500 block of Player Circle where Steele lived in summer 2002. The residence, shared by two other people, was where Steele allegedly molested the boy.

A former roommate said he observed Steele and the boy together about 10 times while the two played video games and watched movies in the living room.

On cross-examination by Deputy District Attorney Peter O’Hara, the man said he saw the two go into the bathroom together. Steele’s bedroom door was shut when Steele and the boy, who is now 5, were in his room.

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The jury of nine women and three men viewed a taped interview between the boy and Jennifer Kline, a South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center sexual assault and domestic violence advocate. The interview happened on the same day the boy’s mother called El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department.

On tape the boy provided conflicting statements, including whether Steele took a shower and bath with him, and what occurred regarding the alleged molestation. Lori London, Steele’s attorney, questioned Kline about whether she had led the boy with suggestions on what happened.

Closing arguments begin at 9 a.m. Monday at El Dorado County Superior Court.