Court upholds rapist’s castration |

Court upholds rapist’s castration

Ryan McCarthy

Chemical castration of a man with AIDS convicted of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old boy at Lake Tahoe has been upheld by a California state court.

Rudolph Christopher Steele, 43, of South Lake Tahoe had appealed the El Dorado County Superior Court sentence for his 2003 conviction by a jury on sodomy and oral copulation charges.

He contended the hormone-suppression therapy – dubbed “chemical castration” – that the court ordered he undergo when paroled was improper. The state Board of Prison Terms is the agency to impose such conditions, Steele argued.

He also said the hormone suppression might interfere with his AIDS medication.

“Liberty, privacy, bodily integrity, procreation and due process of law” are deprived by the hormone treatment, Steele’s appeal said.

The Sacramento-based appellate court in its ruling Wednesday affirmed the sentence imposed by the El Dorado County Superior Court.

Hormone suppression is an additional punishment that a trial court imposes at sentencing and not a parole condition that only the Board of Prison Terms can impose, the state court ruled.

The appellate court noted the sentence imposed in El Dorado County called for the prison board to address possible impacts of hormones on the AIDS medication Steele takes.

He was arrested in summer 2002 after the youth said Steele, a family friend, had sexually molested him.

The boy has since tested negative for AIDS.

In its sentence, El Dorado County Superior Court cited the victim’s vulnerability, Steele’s planning and sophistication in the crimes, and the defendant’s numerous prior convictions involving drugs and firearms.

Attorney Lori London, who represented Steele in his criminal trial, declined to comment on the appellate court ruling.

Deputy district attorney Peter O’Hara, who prosecuted the case, could not be reached for comment.