A prominent Klamath landlord is facing felony charges of forcible lewd acts upon a child, kidnap for intent to rape and dissuading a witness by force or threat.
During a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Judge Philip Schafer ruled that there was sufficient evidence for the prosecution to move forward with the case against Fred Stockett, who owns dozens of rental properties in the Klamath area.
Former Yurok Tribal Police Sgt. Heather Landreneaux took the witness stand to recount an interview that took place in January with the alleged female victim, who was 11 at the time.
Landreneaux testified that in the summer of 2010, the victim was spending the weekend with Stockett and his wife, including a Sunday-morning church service.
According to Landreneaux's interview with the victim, Stockett seized the victim's arm, forced her into a bedroom, threw her onto the bed, and removed her clothes before molesting her.
Stockett heard the garage door open, indicating his wife had returned to the residence, according to Landreneaux's recount of the interview with the victim. He threw the clothes at the victim, telling her to get dressed in the bathroom, and threatened to injure the victim's family if she told anyone what had happened, according to the testimony.
The victim said she did not come forward with the accusations for almost two years because of Stockett's alleged threat, Landreneaux testified.
Stockett's attorney, Russ Clanton, pointed to Stockett's eviction of the victim's mother, and a resulting small claims lawsuit filed by Stockett against her, as the reason for the delayed accusations.
"The genesis of this whole slate of accusations against Mr. Stockett is that there was a small claims case that was directed at the damage to the unit that Mr. Stockett had rented to the mother of the accuser," Clanton later told the Triplicate. "Immediately after he filed the suit, they came up with all these claims; it's a classic case of opportunism."
During Clanton's cross-examination, Landreneaux said that other children stayed at Stockett's home as well and that the alleged victim continued to visit Stockett on a regular basis after the alleged incident.
Stockett's pre-trial is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 20, at 8:30 a.m.
Reach Adam Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org.