A child sexual abuse case that has been subject to proceedings in Hood River County Circuit Court since late last year may end up going to trial in January 2015 if a settlement isn’t reached in time.
A settlement conference is expected to be held within the next few months regarding the case of the State v. Kenneth Gordon Lolley, which came before the court again Monday morning.
Lolley, 73, of Hood River, was arrested in December 2013 on five counts of first degree sexual abuse after allegedly touching the private parts of two girls ages 8 and 10. He received an additional nine counts of first degree sexual abuse after another underage female victim was identified, this time 11 years old, whom Lolley also allegedly subjected to inappropriate touching.
Originally, Lolley was held at the Northern Oregon Regional Correction Facility in The Dalles on $300,000 bail, but his attorney, Brian Starns of Hood River law firm Morris, Smith, Starns and Sullivan, successfully requested the court reduce the bail to $40,000.
Lolley made bail in February of this year and has since been confined to his home, at 1640 16th St. in Hood River, along with an electronic monitoring device, per court order. He was originally scheduled to plead to the crimes in April, but the plea date has been pushed back twice since then.
Lolley was originally scheduled for an entry of plea on Monday, but the time was used instead to discuss logistics about the settlement conference as well as the trial in case the conference is unsuccessful.
Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen, who is prosecuting the case, advocated that if the case did proceed to trial it “should take precedence over any other trial” in terms of scheduling.
“Oregon law does require expedited hearings in the cases of victims who are small children and witnesses,” she told Judge John A. Olson in court Monday, “and this case is stretching back in December.”
According to Rasmussen, during a settlement conference, a judge separate from the case will meet with counsel from each side of the suit in order to resolve the case as opposed to having it go to trial and come to a mutual agreement for sanctions for the defendant. Rasmussen declined to comment on the current case, but said that in general, sanctions can include typical punishments such as community service, fines, probation, and jail time.
No date for the settlement conference was set during Monday’s proceedings, but a trial date was set for Jan. 6-9, 2015 if parties are unable to arrive at an agreement by then.