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One Less Child Molester: Winston County Oregon Molester Richard Steele Commits Suicide After Sex With 15 Year Old Boy He Met On Internet

2-2-2007 Oregon:
WINSTON COUNTY, OREGON: The Winston man accused of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old Jackson County boy he met on the Internet was found dead Thursday from an apparent suicide.

A passerby found Richard Steele, 38, dead in a tent off a Bureau of Land Management road about 10 miles southwest of Winston around 8:30 a.m., according to a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office press release.

Steele had apparently ran a hose from the exhaust pipe on a sport utility vehicle to the tent. There were no signs of foul play and the case is being investigated as a suicide, according to the sheriff’s office.

Steele’s family had reported the man missing on Tuesday.

Steele had been arrested last month following a seven-month Oregon State Police investigation into four Southern Oregon men accused of sex-related crimes involving the same youth.

Steele was charged with third-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, and compelling prostitution, a felony.

Police said the four men, including Steele, had met with the 15-year-old at various times. Steele and two of the other men — one from Grants Pass, the other from Bandon — had met the boy through an Internet chat site.

“None of the men knew each other,” said OSP Detective Blain Allen with the Central Point office.

He said 23-year-old Mathew Prinslow of Rogue River has since pleaded guilty to the sex-related crimes against him. Prinslow knew the victim locally and did not meet him online, Allen said.

Detectives had currently been working on the time frame during which Steele’s alleged crimes had occurred. According to the alleged victim, the two had met in the fall of 2005, Allen said.

With Steele’s death, however, the case against him is now closed.

“You can’t proceed with a case without a suspect,” he said. ..more..

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