A serial child molester was freed from a life sentence in prison because he had not been given the right to confront his accuser. Edward Stokes had been given a life sentence for the 1996 drugging and raping in California of Blue Kartak, 16, of Seattle. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that last week, Stokes — who said he has attacked more than 200 victims — became a free man and moved back to Washington state. A state appeals court ruled he never had a chance to confront Kartak — who committed suicide before the trial.
“This is a travesty of justice. I’m absolutely shocked,” said Jeff Albertson, who befriended Kartak while working at the University Youth Shelter in Seattle. “What it tells me is that in the state of California, you can kidnap and drug and rape a 16-year-old boy and get away with it. Wherever this monster is, he poses a tremendous danger to the community.”
John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff’s Office said Stokes has 30 days to register as a sex offender. He said he likely will be categorized as a Level 3 offender, which means he is highly likely to reoffend. “Given the number of victims that he’s admitted to, and given the fact that he has threatened people who have testified against him — all of this certainly gives us pause and means he’s somebody we’re going to be keeping an eye on,” Urquhart said.