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South Kitsap man convicted of child molestation

The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office will argue next month that a 52-year-old South Kitsap man convicted of child molestation last week should be sentenced to life in prison under the state’s two-strike law.

Daniel James Stockwell, 52, was convicted April 30 of first-degree child molestation and attempted child molestation in the first degree in Kitsap County Superior Court. Under current state law, that constitutes one strike under the state’s two-strike law for serious sexual offenses.

But Prosecutor Neil Wachter said he will argue that Stockwell’s prior conviction for statutory rape and indecent liberties nearly 20 years ago in Pierce County should qualify as the first strike.

Wachter said at the time of Stockwell’s first conviction in the mid-1980s the crime now known as rape of a child — which is a strike offense — did not exist, but it has primarily the same elements as what was then called statutory rape.

The notable difference between the two crimes, Watcher explained, is that the rape of a child statute defines the crime as an act between two parties who are not married — a condition not included in the the old statutory rape law.

Currently, state law defines rape of a child as sexual contact with a person under 16 years of age by another person at least two years older and not married to the victim.

“It is a complex legal issue, but if it the judge agrees it is a strike, Stockwell will receive a life sentence,” Wachter said.

Even if Stockwell’s first conviction is not ruled a strike, Wachter said he faces a minimum of 12 years at his sentencing June 11 in Kitsap County Superior Court.

Stockwell was convicted of having sexual contact with a family member for more than a year, beginning when the girl was only five years old, and attempting to molest another girl who was seven.

He was originally arrested last year.

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