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Former Estacada city councilman gets 8 years

Curt Steininger convicted for sexual abuse of a child

Curt Allen Steininger was sentenced to eight years in prison on Tuesday for sexual abuse of a young relative and for possession of child pornography. The 34-year-old former Estacada city councilor was also ordered by Judge Katherine Weber of Clackamas County Court to register as a sex offender, and undergo post-prison supervision.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CLACKAMAS COUNTY SHERIFF - Curt Allen Steininger, 34, was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison for sexual abuse of a young relative.Over 20 people attended the sentencing, filling the small courtroom. On one side, the victim sat with her mother and others who came out to show their support. Steininger’s family and friends sat on the other side of the room.

While the victim did not speak, Deputy District Attorney Rusty Amos read a letter by the victim’s mother. The letter spoke of forgiveness for Steininger, not for his benefit, but so that the girl’s mother could move forward. Although the victim’s mother said she once loved Steininger, she believed her daughter when the girl told her mother about abuse that happened in 2014. The letter referenced Steininger’s personal “demons”, including abuse of heroin, methamphetamines and pills.

“Someday, I hope you really are sorry for all those you have caused pain,” the letter read.

Defense attorney Richard Cohen said that in light of the court’s findings, a statement by the victim’s mother is not something on which the defense can comment.

Instead, Cohen spoke on behalf of the victim’s family and how painful this experience has been for them. He said that his client will use the next eight years to “get to know himself,” after years of denial. This was a reference to the defendant’s drug use and struggle to come out as gay, but Cohen said that none of those are excuses for the crimes which the court found Steininger guilty.

When asked to speak, Steininger briefly addressed his daughters.

“You’ve got too much of your dad in you,” he said, before making aggressive statements about the victim’s mother. Cohen cut him off, and prompted his client to agree with the judge’s request to complete the sentence and seek out drug treatment in custody.

"Of course I will," Steininger said.

Steininger was led out of the room in handcuffs, and appeared to avoid making eye contact with the victim and her family.

Steininger moved to Estacada in 2006 and was elected to City Council in 2012. He resigned from the council in April 2014, citing family commitments.

The resolution of the case reflected a negotiated settlement between Amos, a long time member of Clackamas County child abuse prosecution, and Richard Cohen, Steininger’s attorney.

“The two of us thought that the resolution fairly resolved a complicated case with multilayered family dynamics and lots of tragedy,” Cohen said.

Cohen clarified that a plea of no contest is not the same as pleading guilty. However, the judge accepts the version of the events the state provided.

In contrast with the process of going to trial, Amos said the benefit of a plea deal is that resolution is guaranteed for the victim.

“While the victim’s family might not be happy with the outcome, they were satisfied with the fact that they didn’t have to go to trial,” Amos said. “It could be worse for everybody involved.”