Steven M. Nowlen, 60 years old and of Toledo, appeared in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday in response to a summons, after learning he was accused for the second time of inappropriately touching a 5year-old girl almost 18 years ago.
Nowlen is charged with first-degree child molestation.
According to charging documents, the allegations were investigated when the alleged victim was a child, but recently the now 22 year old reported the matter to the Lewis County Sheriff's Office.
Nowlen was distressed to learn news reporters were present during his hearing.
"This isn't going to be in the newspaper is it," he asked outside the courtroom. "This is embarrassing."
Nowlen said the allegation was investigated years ago, and suggested he couldn't understand why it was getting looked at again.
"I took a lie detector and passed it with flying colors," he said.
The charge, filed on May 18 in Lewis County Superior Court, alleges sexual contact sometime between Nov. 1, 1998 and March 1, 1999.
The allegation is the child was at her aunts home in Winlock, taking a bath with her cousin and the aunt's boyfriend touched her between her legs when it was time to get out of the tub.
The court documents indicate the case was re-investigated beginning this past November.
Sheriff's detective Jeremy Almond gathered records and conducted interviews and found the original case records were incomplete. In 2000, Winlock Police Chief Forrest McPherson suddenly died and there is no record of what happened with the case after the child was examined at St. Peter's Sexual Assault Clinic.
Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Sheila Weirth wrote in the court documents that information from the medical examination revealed a condition "which can be seen in children who have been sexually abused, but is not a specific finding of sexual abuse." The clinic recommended further police investigation.
Nowlen when interviewed by the detective denied ever inappropriately touching the child and told him he passed a polygraph in the 1990s, according to Weirth. There is no record of him taking one at that time, Weirth wrote.
Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey was told yesterday afternoon it appeared Nowlen qualified for a court appointed lawyer. Centralia attorney David Arcuri was appointed.
The offense carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Prosecutors requested and were granted a $10,000 unsecured bond as a condition of release. Nowlen's arraignment is scheduled for June 16.