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Former pastor pleads not guilty to child sex crimes


Steven Welty appears in Clallam County Superior Court Aug. 13. Welty pleaded not guilty to charges of child rape, incest and child molestation.
 

A Dungeness man accused of sexually abusing young female relatives pleaded not guilty Friday, Aug. 13, in Clallam County Superior Court.


Steven Welty, 59. pleaded not guilty to six counts of child rape in the first degree, six counts of child molestation in the first degree and six counts of incest in the first degree with a victim younger than 14.

Clallam County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Lyman Moores said the investigation continues and there may be as many as four victims, some of whom live out of the area.

At the arraignment, Clallam County Deputy Prosecutor Ann Lundwall said Welty is a flight risk and requested the court require him to surrender his passport before he is released from jail.

Welty's attorney John Hayden, of the county's Public Defender office, said he would secure the passport.

Welty remains in custody at the Clallam County jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

From October 2008 to June 2009, Welty operated a laundromat and homeless facility as part of the Sequim Community Help Center, of which he was director. He also served as pastor at Glory House Fellowship Church. The Barbara Allen Laundromat, named after his mother, was part of the center, serving as a place homeless people could go to get their clothes washed and take a shower. The facilities were at 155 W. Cedar Street.

In a 2009 interview with the Sequim Gazette, Welty said he was closing the center and the church for financial reasons.

Welty's trial is scheduled for Oct. 4.



Amanda Winters can be reached at awinters@sequimgazette.com.

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