Man Accused Of Molesting 7-Year-Old Was On Probation - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Man Accused Of Molesting 7-Year-Old Was On Probation

By Jeff Tang

(SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky.) -- A convicted child sex offender now accused of molesting a young girl was on probation at the time of the alleged crime. Detectives in Bullitt County recently arrested 66-year-old Stephen Doninger for molesting a 7-year-old girl. WAVE 3's Jeff Tang investigates.

For one hurting mother, Doninger's arrest for sexually assaulting a little girl is no surprise. He was convicted of molesting three of her children.

"He came to do some artwork in our house and assaulted our children when he was here," said the mother of three of Doninger's victims from the 2004 case. "He made us believe he was our friend, but it turned out he was our enemy."

When Doninger was arrested and charged with the crimes, his trial was a chance for payback. "I thought he would be put away."

But more than a year's worth of court proceedings later, she was surprised to learn he would not be going to prison.

Doninger received agreed to a plea bargain, and was placed on probation for five years. All he had to do was stay out of trouble for five years, and he wouldn't have to serve his 15-year sentence.

"My heart was broke," said the victims' mother. "I felt pain for my children. I felt pain for the other victims -- I knew he would strike again. And then I found out he did it again."

Doninger was arrested in Bullitt County last week and charged with molesting a 7-year-old girl in his home.

Now the question is: how could a convicted child molester escape jail time and given the chance to assault more victims?

"Unfortunately, this was just a case where he fooled people," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Christie Floyd, the prosecutor in Doninger's first trial.

"According to the information we got, he seemed like a good candidate for probation," Floyd explained. "He was older. He'd been doing the treatment. He was gonna keep on doing the treatment."

It now appears counseling was one of many deceptions in the case.

Although his name appears in the Kentucky Sex Offender Registry, family friends knew him by the name of "Von Art," not Stephen Doninger.

His appearance even changed after his conviction -- on his sex offender registry web page Doninger has a full beard. But the families of both victims say Doninger was normally clean shaven.

Now that Doninger has been arrested again, there is little separating a mother from her payback -- and a convicted child molester from going to prison.

"It's going to be up to the judge, but I'll be arguing strongly he be revoked and serve the 15-year sentence," Floyd said.

Authorities believe it's possible Doninger molested other young children as well. In fact, since we started our investigation, another victim has contacted WAVE 3 to report she was abused by Doninger.

If anyone else has been victimized by Doninger, call your local police department.

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Online Reporter: Jeff Tang

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