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Jury acquits Culver man of sex abuse charges

By Barney Lerten
Published On: Apr 24 2013 07:24:59 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 26 2013 01:05:56 PM CDT

MADRAS, Ore. -

At the end of a three-day trial, a Jefferson County jury deliberated for about 90 minutes Wednesday and acquitted a former Culver 4-H leader of sex abuse charges.

Steven Stoltz, 67, of Culver, was arrested Dec. 30, accused of sexually abusing a teenage club member.

The jury cleared Stoltz of second- and third-degree sex abuse charges, convicting him only on a charge of second-degree custodial interference, lawyers and prosecutors said.

Stoltz's daughter, Savallah Amber Stoltz, 26, and her husband, John Straight, 25, also were tried and acquitted on the custodial interference charge in the trial, heard by retired Circuit Judge Gary Thompson..

Stoltz is due back in court on May 7th for sentencing on the custodial interference charge.

District Attorney Steve Leriche said the presumptive sentence is up to two years probation and 60 days in jail.

The alleged victim, who claimed Stoltz touched her inappropriately, took the stand and "stated all the facts in a clear fashion," Leriche said, but "you never know what a jury is going to do."

The jury "sifted through a pretty complicated situation and came up with a result that we certainly respect," Leriche said.

Stoltz's attorney, Sean Trimble, later issued the following statement on his behalf:

On April 24, 2013 a Jefferson County Jury acquitted Steven Stoltz of one count of sexual abuse in the second degree and three counts of sexual abuse in the third degree. Steven Stoltz’s daughter and her fiancé were acquitted on an unrelated charge of Custodial Interference.

Steven Stoltz, who had been a 4H leader for more than 30 years, appeared at trial with Sean Trimble from the Law Office of Angela Lee.

Mr. Stoltz was supported in the courtroom by friends, family, and many of the 4H students he had mentored over the years. 

At the end of a three-day trial the Jury returned their verdicts in about 90 minutes. Mr. Stoltz was convicted of one charge of Custodial Interference, but acquitted on all other counts.

Mr. Stoltz, who served as a combat medic during the Viet Nam conflict in the late 1950s, has a long history of helping people in need. Mr. Stoltz took the stand and told the jury about his efforts to try to help a student who was in crisis, and his subsequent arrest for sexual abuse and custodial interference.

Mr. Stoltz would like to take this opportunity to thank his friends and family for standing beside him and believing in him through this dark time.

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