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Walter Eli Elston faces sexual abuse, sodomy and rape charges after his arrest last week

A Newberg man faces decades in prison after he was arrested recently on allegations he sexually abused a teenage girl over the course of several years.COURTESY PHOTO - Newberg resident Walter Eli Elston was arrested Dec. 16 on allegations he sexually abused a teenage girl over the course of several years.

Walter Eli Elston, 49, was arrested Dec. 16 on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, one count each of second- and third-degree rape and multiple counts of second- and third-degree sodomy.

Elston was arraigned in Yamhill County Circuit Court on Dec. 17 and assigned counsel, Portland attorney Simon Whang. Deputy District Attorney Holly Winter is prosecuting the case. Elston was indicted on the charges Dec. 24 in Judge Cynthia Easterday's court.

A probable cause affidavit filed by Officer Jonathan Stearns of the Newberg-Dundee Police Department alleged that Elston, described in court documents as the boyfriend of the victim's mother, first began plying the young girl with drugs in April 2014.

"(The victim) reported that Walter Elston introduced her to methamphetamine when she was approximately 13 years old while living in an apartment in the city of Dundee," the statement said. "(The victim) reported that Walter Elston showed her how to smoke meth and when she was high, had sex with her. (The victim) reported she lost her virginity to Walter Elson that night, and for the next several years, until (the victim) was 16 years old, (she) would do anything Walter Elston wanted in exchange for methamphetamine."

The victim alleged that Elston forced her to have sex from one to three times daily for nearly three years from the time when she was 13 to age 16.

"(The victim) estimated Walter Elston has sexual contact with her in various forms a 'thousand' times," Stearns said in his affidavit.

The document also alleges that Elston forced the girl to view pornography, specifically so-called fantasy depictions of "stepdaughter" porn, prior to sexually abusing her again.

Nearly two-thirds through the Stearns' affidavit, the girl revealed that Elston may have begun molesting her at a much younger age. The document says that when the girl was 8 years old Elston "grabbed her hand and caused her to stroke (him) in exchange for the use of his phone" in the garage of his Newberg home.

The abuse stopped, the affidavit said, when Elston was incarcerated for an extended period of time. During his absence, the girl "was able to stop doing methamphetamine and subsequently was able to resist Walter Elston's sexual advances," the affidavit says.

A friend of the victim surfaced in June 2015 and said she witnessed the girl and Elston having sex inside a van in Dundee. The NDPD became aware of the witness in October 2016 and Stearns interviewed the victim at the middle school she attended in Newberg.

"(The victim) denied the occurrence at that time and the case was inactivated. On Dec. 9, 2020, I interviewed that same friend and she reported what she had observed years ago," he continued, explaining that the girl claimed she had witnessed Elston having sex with the victim in a van.

A second witness, interviewed by Stearns this month, claimed she heard Elston having sex with the girl in the apartment in Dundee and that the witness acknowledged knowing that the victim was receiving meth from "her mother's boyfriend."

Familiar to law enforcement

Elston is no stranger to the criminal justice system in Oregon and Washington. A list of previous offenses, both alleged and for which he was convicted or pleaded guilty, stretches back to 1992 and range from driving infractions and making false claims for health care payments, to theft and speeding.

More recently, his arrests have centered on drug charges ranging from possession and delivery of meth, until his recent apprehension on the allegations of sexual abuse.

Should Elston be convicted of the first-degree sexual abuse and second- and third-degree rape charges against him, he faces mandatory minimum sentences of six years and three months on each charge, possibly netting him more than 25 years in prison. Whether those sentences would be served consecutively or concurrently is at the discretion of the judge in the case.

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