Hollenbeak Found 'Not Guilty'

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, January 30 2013 at 3:35 PM, Updated: Wed, January 30 2013 at 3:50 PM

A jury says a former Klamath County Schools teacher is 'not guilty' of sex charges...

Klamath County Circuit Court Judge Dan Bunch read the verdict late Tuesday afternoon...

"As to sexual abuse in the first degree, that being count one, not guilty - sexual abuse in the first degree, that being count two, not guilty."

Rick Hollenbeak's defense attorney Peter Richard notes that the trial was long, and complex...

"I don't think there was any one single thing that you can point to, and say that, 'Oh, that was a Perry Mason moment' - there were no Perry Mason moments."

Prosecutor Sharon Forster was unable to convince the jury that Hollenbeak had molested a 14 year old female relative...

"I'm extremely disappointed.  These are tough cases.  You've got a troubled teen, which from my perspective, makes her the perfect victim."

And while he's been found 'not guilty', Hollenbeak lost his teaching job upon his arrest a year ago...and his reputation has already been damaged.

Peter Richard noted, "There's no way of compensating him for that."

The 12 members of the jury were unanimous in their 'not guilty' verdict.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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