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Idaho fugitive nabbed in Hilo

A 57-year-old Hilo man sought for almost five years by Idaho authorities for the alleged sexual assault of a minor will not fight extradition.

Stephen Robert Reiling, also known as Ken Starr, signed a waiver of extradition form Tuesday in Hilo Circuit Court. According to a court document filed by the Bonner County Prosecuting Attorney in Sandpoint, Idaho, Reiling “did willfully, intentionally, knowingly and lewdly commit a lewd and lascivious act upon the body of a minor.” The document states the act, which was reported in 2011, occurred in 2003, when the alleged victim, a girl, was about 8 years old.

According to an online wanted poster issued by the Bonner County Sheriff, Reiling failed to appear in court June 11, 2011, and was at large until his arrest Saturday in Hilo for domestic abuse and misdemeanor sex assault under the name Ken Starr. Local police issued a wanted bulletin Feb. 29 seeking information about Starr’s whereabouts.

The alleged victim in the local case is Reiling’s former girlfriend, a 46-year-old woman.

“What are the chances that Idaho is actually going to come and get Mr. Reiling?” Judge Greg Nakamura asked Deputy Prosecutor Lucas Burns.

“Your Honor, it’s my understanding there’s an extremely high chance that Idaho will come and pick up Mr. Reiling,” Burns replied.

The judge set a hearing for 8:30 a.m. April 6, but it will be held only if Idaho authorities don’t pick up Reiling by then.

Police Capt. Robert Wagner, commander of the Hilo Criminal Investigation Division, said fingerprints taken at the time of arrest matched Reiling’s and the extradition warrant was noted by detectives.

“We usually don’t arrest unless the jurisdiction wants them back and they want him back,” Wagner said.

Reiling, who was in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center as Starr, was arrested on the Idaho charge and his bail was set at $1.25 million.

Nakamura ordered Reiling detained without bail on the request of Burns, who noted the charge Reiling is facing carries a possible sentence of life imprisonment.

Lt. Tony Riffel of the Bonner County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday the alleged victim is an adult now.

“She was actually, I think, 7 or 8 years old when the actual acts happened, and it took her a couple of years to come forward and give us information,” Riffel said. “I think she was getting ready to start college when the case was getting ready to go to jury trial and we were having our pretrial hearings. Jury trial was to start the following Monday, right after the weekend, and he didn’t show.”

He said that in the almost five years Reiling was at large, Idaho detectives “would get tips here and there over time, but we were never quite able to track him down or locate him until he was arrested there and fingerprinted.”

Riffel said he’s seen sentences of “25 years to life on a case like this before” in Idaho.

“I’m glad to see your guys have finally picked him up,” he said. “It’s difficult when victims come forward and provide information on something tragic like this that happened to them. And then, if the suspect or offender never goes to trial or never sees any kind of consequences for their actions, that kind of leaves the victim hanging with no closure.

“It’s good to get him off the street and good for the victim so she can get some kind of closure.”

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