Prosecutor: ‘The victim wants this done’

Trial rescheduled for Sept. 25 in 1980s rape case

PORT ORCHARD — According to court documents, he’s used the name Warron Big Eagle. And Ronnie Mack. And Jerry Prouty.

But his real name is Ronald Lee Paulson. And he’s due in Kitsap County Superior Court on July 25 for a final omnibus hearing before his trial begins on Sept. 25.

Paulson, who was returned here from Oklahoma in summer 2016 to face charges related to alleged sex crimes dating back to 1983-87, was originally scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 5, 2016. But changes in attorney, motions for time to prepare defense, and other procedural motions led to trial being rescheduled more than once.

The Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office didn’t object to the latest trial date, but noted, according to the court record, “[We] need to go to trial on this date. [The] victim wants this done.”

As of July 18, Paulson was represented by Adrian B. Pimentel of Ness & Associates of Port Orchard.

Paulson, 71, is in Kitsap County Jail on $500,000 bail, charged with five counts of first-degree statutory rape, two counts of indecent liberties, and one count of bail jump.

According to court documents, prosecutors plan to call 11 witnesses, including the alleged victim, who is now 40.

Paulson was arrested in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, in May 2016 after an investigation by Poulsbo police and seven other agencies in four states. He was returned to Kitsap County and booked into county jail on June 23, 2016.

A bail study determined Paulson had no criminal record in Washington and that he reported having a possible roofing job lined up in Kitsap. But in a letter to the court, the alleged victim asked that the court not lower his bail, saying he was a flight risk.

“The last time he was granted bond he ran for 26 years,” she wrote. “Those 26 years were hell for me. I have lived my life in the shadow of the things that that man has done to me. He ruined my life and all I am asking for is the opportunity to face him in court. … I need to be able to have my day in court with him. I need that closure.”

She added, “I have numbed my pain with drugs all my life. I have been sober since August of last year. In order to continue on my path to putting my life back together, I need to face my demon. That demon being [Paulson].”

Bail remains $500,000 cash or bond. Paulson was still in county jail as of July 18.

According to investigators and court records:

In 1987, Poulsbo police identified Paulson as the suspect in an alleged rape and indecent liberties case. Paulson left Washington during the investigation and a warrant for his arrest was issued.

In 1990, Paulson was arrested in Kern County, California, and returned to Kitsap County to stand trial. Paulson posted bond and was released pending trial. Paulson failed to appear for trial in December that year, and another arrest warrant was issued.

Fast forward to May 2016. The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office contacted the Poulsbo Police Department and advised there was still an active warrant for Paulson’s arrest. Poulsbo Police Detective David Shurick enlisted the assistance of detectives from several other agencies in the area as well as outside of Washington who had arrest information regarding Paulson.

“Using various forms of information and social media websites, a link was found to a person identifying himself as Warron Big Eagle in Pottawatomie County,” Deputy Police Chief Andy Pate said in an earlier interview. “Other investigative means were used to confirm the identity of Big Eagle and to verify his real name as that of Paulson, the individual wanted in this case.”

Paulson lived a public life in Oklahoma.

YouTube videos, now removed, showed Paulson, as Big Eagle, with his Native American flute at public events. He worked as a roofing salesman, his wife Debra told the North Kitsap Herald. A month before his arrest, Shawnee Outlook magazine reported on his part in an annual arts event to raise money for the revitalization of downtown Shawnee.

Shurick contacted the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office and requested their assistance in apprehending Paulson. Pottawatomie authorities were able to locate Paulson with information provided, confirmed Paulson’s identity with a fingerprint match, and arrested him at his home.

In an interview after Paulson’s arrest, Debra Big Eagle told the North Kitsap Herald that her husband is “a good, honest, hardworking man” who first started sharing the gospel at RV campgrounds and later gave sermons at his local church. “He very much loves the Lord,” she said at the time. She said she didn’t know much about his life before they married, but said, “People have a right to change.”

— Richard Walker is managing editor of Kitsap News Group. Contact him at rwalker@soundpublishing.com

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