Boyle gets 4 years in sexual abuse case

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show the correct years of suspended jail time.

At a hearing held Monday, Aug. 14, at the Kenai Courthouse, Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet sentenced Stephen Boyle, 45, to 10 years in jail with six years suspended for one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Boyle had been the former assistant fire chief with Kachemak Emergency Services until being dismissed from his job after his arrest in June 2016.

Homer Police arrested Boyle on six counts of first-degree sexual abuse after they received a complaint in May 2016 from a woman in her 20s alleging that over a period of six years and when she was between the ages of 9 and 15 she had been sexually assaulted by Boyle. The woman now lives in Florida, but grew up in Homer. Police said the woman claimed that from 1997 to 2003 she was sexually assaulted at Boyle’s home and other locations.

The woman is related to Boyle, but to protect her privacy, the Homer News is not providing details regarding her exact age or her relationship to Boyle. The victim attended telephonically and read a statement at Boyle’s hearing. She described how she had seen Boyle abuse her sister and then he later abused her. She said she kept the abuse secret for years, manipulated to believe “that what was happening was OK, and God was OK with it.”

“I have carried this weight, this burden no one should have to carry. I was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety and major depression,” she said. “I have suffered mentally and emotionally for far too long. It has caused major problems in my past relationships, my marriage and intimacy. I had almost forgotten what happiness was.”

The woman said she had attempted suicide. A year after her suicide attempt, and with the help of her husband and family, she said she found the courage to report Boyle to police.

In March, Boyle made a plea agreement with the Kenai District Attorney’s office and pleaded guilty to one consolidated count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. He had been originally charged with six counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, one for each year spanning 1997-2002. Sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree is a Class B felony and at the time it was committed carried a maximum sentence of 10 years — sentencing ranges were changed in state statute in 2004 and 2006. Part of Boyle’s plea agreement was that he agree to the aggravator that the crime was the “most serious conduct under the statute,” Huguelet said then.

Judge Huguelet placed Boyle on 10 years of supervised probation and also ordered Boyle to apply for an Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend and pay $6,400 in restitution for the victim’s counseling; to register as a sex offender; to get psychological testing and assessment; to participate in sex-offender treatment; not to have contact with the victim or her sister unless approved by the probation officer; not to be in the presence of children under 18 unless they are accompanied by an adult; not to be in a place where children might be present; have no sexually explicit material; not to visit strip clubs, adult book or video stores or visit web sites with sexually explicit material; not to access social media, including Facebook, or visit dating sites; not to use another person’s internet account and to provide his probation officer with all computer passwords and submit to a search of his computer by his probation officer; not to pick up hitchhikers; notify all household members of his history, even for temporary stays; shall obtain employment, but cannot work or volunteer for jobs where children might be present without the written permission of a probation officer; shall inform any employer of his conviction; shall inform all persons he has a close relationship with of his sex offender history, and shall provide a DNA sample on request.

In the closing of her impact statement, Boyle’s victim said that in reporting the abuse she had feared repercussions.

“But I could not let Steve have that control over me anymore,” she said. “Steve, I want you to know your ability to control and manipulate me is over. … You have no control, and you can’t keep me from speaking the truth.”

“I also want you to know I forgive you — not for your sake, but for solely for mine,” she added.

Boyle had been out on bail after his arrest, but after not being able to find a third-party custodian, turned himself in to jail and has been at Wildwood Pretrial Facility since late November 2016.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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