Tisbury businessman arrested on decade old child rape charge

Photo by Susan Safford

Tisbury police on July 11 arrested Carlos Stevenson, owner of Mosher Photo in Vineyard Haven, on a charge of repeatedly molesting and raping a child more than a decade ago.

Mr. Stevenson was arraigned in Edgartown District Court on July 14 and charged with 11 counts of indecent assault on a child under 14, and one count of rape of a child by force. He was freed on $9,000 bail.

The court ordered not guilty pleas on all charges for Mr. Stevenson, 48, of Tisbury. He was ordered to relinquish his passport, to stay away from the victim, and to have no unsupervised contact with any girls under the age of 17.

In arguing for bail, Cape and Islands assistant district attorney Laura Marshard said a period of stalking and sexual contact began with the girl when she was 10 years old, and continued for several years.

As part of the Commonwealth’s request for $9,000 bail, Ms. Marshard said the evidence includes corroboration of the allegations that is rare in cases of child sexual abuse. “It has been a process that hasn’t been easy for the alleged victim to come forward,” Ms. Marshard told the court. “We want to assist her in bringing closure to that aspect of her life.”

Attorney Rob Moriarty represented Mr. Stevenson at his arraignment. Mr. Moriarty said the allegations date back 14 years, and the charges are incompatible with Mr. Stevenson’s history as an Island businessman.

“They arrested him without a warrant, without doing a complete investigation, without even trying to talk to him,” Mr. Moriarty told the court. “Let’s be clear about corroboration. There is no physical corroboration. He maintains his innocence. This is, I would suggest, a weak case.”

Mr. Moriarty asked the court to release Mr. Stevenson on personal recognizance.

Except for standard court forms documenting the arraignment and bail, all records in the case, including records of the police investigation, were impounded and sealed by the court.

Mr. Stevenson is due back in court on July 25 for a pretrial hearing.