Steele sentenced to 40 years on molestation charges

Staff Writer

RIDGWAY – Charles Ward Steele was sentenced on Monday in Elk County Court to 40 years in state prison on child molestation charges stemming from his repeated abuse of a child between 2001 and 2006.
The Steele case is one of the longest ongoing litigations in Elk County court. Originally accused in 2005, the case against Steele floundered for many years as Steele used the significant financial resources available to him to delay hearings for a long list of reasons. After originally being shelved for almost eight years, a new investigator took a look at the case and spoke to the now-adult victim and made significant breaks in the case that allowed it to be refiled in 2016. Original Prosecutor Shawn T. McMahon and the victim faced down numerous legal challenges by Steele from 2016 onward until finally a jury was chosen for this case in early June, in what the victim's mother called "a relief,” in this case that traces back to 2001.