Homer Police on Thursday arrested Stephen R. Boyle, the deputy fire chief for Kachemak Emergency Services, on six counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, an unclassified felony. Boyle, 43, appeared at the Homer Courthouse on Friday morning for his arraignment. Homer District Court Judge Margaret Murphy told Boyle that a plea could not be made at his initial appearance.
Boyle, a Kenai Peninsula Borough employee, has been placed on administrative leave, said Paul Ostrander, chief of staff for Mayor Mike Navarre.
“We are cooperating with the local police department to do their work and complete their investigation,” Ostrander said. “We have to see what the investigation uncovers and what the police work indicates.”
In a press release, Homer Police said on May 31 they received a complaint from a woman in her 20s alleging that over a period of six years and when she was between the ages of 9 and 15 she had been sexually assaulted by Boyle. The woman now lives in Florida, but grew up in Homer.
According to a criminal complaint by Sgt. Lary Kuhns, the woman claimed that from about 1997 to 2003 she was sexually assaulted at Boyle’s home and other locations. The woman is related to Boyle, but to protect her privacy, the Homer News is not providing details regarding her exact age or her relationship to Boyle.
In his complaint, Kuhns wrote that he contacted a sheriff’s office in Florida and asked for help in serving a search warrant to monitor and record a conversation between the woman and Boyle. In the complaint, Kuhns said Boyle made incriminating statements to the woman and apologized to her.
At his arraignment, when asked if he wanted a court appointed attorney, Boyle said he couldn’t afford to pay for an attorney and wanted a public defender. After asking Boyle about his income, Murphy ruled that he was not eligible for a public defender. Because he is charged with an unclassified felony, Murphy said the presumption is that there would be no bail at the arraignment. Assistant District Attorney Kelly Lawson, attending telephonically, said that was the case. Boyle did request a bail review hearing. He remains in custody at the Homer Jail.
If convicted, Boyle faces up to a $500,000 fine and up to 99 years in prison on each count.
According to the Kachemak Emergency Services website, Boyle has worked in fire and emergency services since 1991, when he was a volunteer firefighter with the Homer Volunteer Fire Department. He eventually was certified as a fire officer 1 and emergency medical technician III. He graduated with an associate of arts degree in fire administration from Kachemak Bay Campus and raised in the ranks from EMS lieutenant to fire captain. He worked full-time with HVFD from 2000 to 2009 and was hired as deputy chief with KES in 2009.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.