Stoltz acquitted of sex abuse


Former 4-H leader to be sentenced for custodial interference

After a three-day trial, on April 24, a 12-person jury acquitted former 4-H leader Steven Stoltz, 67, of Culver, of charges involving the sexual abuse of a teenage girl, but found him guilty of second-degree custodial interference.

Stoltz was arrested Dec. 30, 2011, and charged with second-degree sexual abuse and three counts of third-degree sexual abuse, as well as custodial interference. The charges stemmed from alleged incidents on Aug. 14 and 22, 2011.

Stoltz's daughter, Savallah Stoltz, 26, and her fiancé, John Straight, 25, were both tried at the same time on a charge of custodial interference — for not relinquishing the girl to her mother — and acquitted.

Brendon Alexander, who represented Straight, said his client did not take the stand. "His father-in-law essentially brought a girl by their house; that did not make him or his fiancée Amber guilty."

Alexander said that the victim testified that Stoltz touched her inappropriately, but the jury took just 90 minutes to find him not guilty of those charges.

"Several 4-H youths and their parents testified on behalf of Mr. Stoltz, and how much time and energy he devoted to their programs," said Alexander.

Attorney Sean M. Trimble, of Bend, issued a statement that noted,

"Mr. Stoltz, who served as a combat medic during the Vietnam 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."

Stoltz will be sentenced for custodial interference on May 7, at 2 p.m., before retired Circuit Court Judge Gary Thompson.