A 71-year-old Forest Grove man convicted of repeated sex offenses with young girls will spend the rest of his life behind bars after being sentenced by a Washington County Circuit Court judge.

On Nov. 4, Judge Andrew Erwin cited Douglas Wayne Sokell’s two previous convictions on sex crimes — in Washington County in 1996 and in Lincoln County in 2012 — in invoking the state’s “three strikes” law, which provides that a three-time sex offender is not eligible for parole.Courtesy photo

According to Lt. Mike Rouches of the Hillsboro Police Department, the most recent case in Washington County against Sokell was on Nov. 12, 2011.

According to the police report, in that incident, Sokell entered the Hillsboro Main Library on Northeast Brookwood Avenue and unlawfully touched a 9-year-old girl. He fled the library before he could be contacted by police.

In 2012, Sokell again entered the Hillsboro library, walked around the children’s section and left the location without contacting anyone. These cases were connected after a library employee recognized Sokell from a flyer created by Hillsboro police.

“Our detectives investigated and Sokell was arrested on Nov. 17, 2012, for this sex abuse,” said Rouches.

Sokell was arrested at his residence on Willamina Avenue in Forest Grove. He was charged with harassment, unlawfully being where children congregate, and unlawful contact with a child, and was held in the Washington County Jail.

Sokell was involved in a similar incident in June 2012 in Newport, where police received a call reporting an older man sexually harassing a young girl in the Newport library. In that case, a library employee witnessed Sokell inappropriately touching a girl, 7. The employee asked library patrons to prevent Sokell from leaving the library, and two citizens stopped Sokell, holding him until police officers arrived.

Police determined Sokell touched the girl after asking her to help him find a book for a young girl. The victim suffered no physical injuries.

Sokell was charged with sex abuse I and harassment, and subsequently pleaded guilty in the case.

Sokell was first convicted on a sex abuse charge in Washington County in May 1996 in a case handled by the Tualatin Police Department.

— Jim Redden contributed to this report.

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