A 50-year-old Tonto Village man accused of sexually abusing his girlfriend's daughter was convicted by a Gila County jury Monday.
Following a four-day trial in Globe --which included testimony from his 10-year-old victim -- Donald Allen Ostman was found guilty of four counts of child molestation, one count of sexual molestation of a child, and two counts of furnishing obscene or harmful objects to a child. His sentencing is set for 10:30 a.m., April 26 in Globe.
"During her testimony, the victim was very good on the witness stand," said Payson Police Det. Chris Haack. "She was able to express herself, and could describe in great detail many of the things that were done to her and the things she was shown by the defendant --things a 10-year-old would have no way of knowing about unless she was being victimized."
Authorities were informed of the suspected abuse March 5, 1998, when school officials learned the girl had told two friends, a teacher and her bus driver that her mother's boyfriend "raped" her. Since the girl had already left school for the day, officers had to wait until the following day to interview her.
Haack said he went to the school the following day and interviewed the girl, who told him in startling detail the extent of the abuse she had suffered for three years.
"She also said (Ostman) threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone what was going on," Haack said.
Based on that initial interview, and the detective's belief in the girl's story, Ostman was arrested at his home in Tonto Village March 6, 1998 and booked into Gila County jail. When officers returned to Ostman's home with a search warrant, they discovered pornography of one form or another in nearly every room of the house, Haack said.
"He's maintained all along his innocence, but was unable to offer any explanation as to (the victim's) knowledge of the types of things he had in his house, or the use of those items," Haack said.
Haack said the jury deliberated for roughly five hours before returning its verdict.
"The charges the jury did throw out related to drug offenses," he said. "That was fine. This case wasn't about drugs. It was about the sexual victimization of a little girl."
He said the victim is now attending counseling to help deal with past three years.
"It's always difficult to predict how a victim will handle something like this," Haack said. "Just judging on how well she was able to get through all of this, the investigation and the trial, I'm pretty optimistic about how she'll be able to get on with her life."