A man with AIDS convicted of sexually assaulting a young boy at Lake Tahoe was sentenced to 19 years in prison and ordered to undergo chemical castration before his release.
Rudolph Steele, 42, South Lake Tahoe, was sentenced in El Dorado County Superior Court Thursday on charges including sodomy, oral copulation, lewd or lascivious act on a child and penetration of a foreign object.
The unemployed Steele was arrested last summer when the boy, now 5, claimed he was sexually molested by the family friend. A nurse found nine indicators of molestation during an examination.
The boy has tested negative for the AIDS.
Deputy District Attorney Peter O'Hara said chemical castration would lower Steele's sex drive and help keep him out of prison when he's released.
Defense lawyer Lori London maintained Steele's innocence throughout the four-day trial. She contends someone else molested the child.
London said Steele believes he was convicted because of poor legal representation.
Dallas Steele, Rudolph's older brother, echoed the belief his brother was wrongfully convicted.
"I feel he's been kind of railroaded not necessarily by the court, not necessarily by the system, but the press coverage of this has been horrific," he told the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
Judge Jerald Lasarow said in his decision he was convinced Steele committed the acts.
"I know your family thinks you got a raw deal but the one who got the raw deal was (the boy)," Lasarow said. "He didn't ask to be sodomized."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)