Rural Lincoln man, 67, facing 37 charges related to sex-with-children allegations

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Charges filed in Placer County superior court show that 67-year-old Jimmie Steele is being prosecuted on allegations of a pattern of sexual abuse over a period of years involving two girls under age 10. Steele, a rural Lincoln-area resident, was taken into custody Aug. 13 on charges of having sex with a child and remains in North Auburn’s Placer County Jail, with bail set at $2 million. The county District Attorney’s Office has filed 37 charges in all against Steele. He pleaded not guilty to the charges last Wednesday and is slated to make another court appearance Wednesday. Most of the charges relate to allegations covering a time period starting in February 2002 and ending this past July 4. Both girls are not being identified in court proceedings because of privacy issues. Auburn Journal attempts Monday to speak with family members at Steele’s rambling, single-story home were rebuffed by two adult women who apparently lived there and ordered a reporter off the property. The Steele home is located in a semi-rural area just outside Lincoln city limits, near where the city’s Sun City development stops. A neighbor, Amanda Cosby, expressed surprise and shock at the fact Steele was charged with having sex with children under ages 10 or younger. Cosby said Steele would wave as he traveled past her house on the gravel road leading to Highway 193. She knew Steele’s wife better, describing her as a nice, friendly woman. “The wife is outgoing but I never talked to him,” she said. Cosby said the family was large – with up to 10 young and adult children in the house at any one time. She said she was told they were adopted. Over the past 1½ years, Cosby said some of the children would come over to play with a cousin. “But we never sent ours over there,” Cosby said. “Now I’m thankful for that.” Placer County’s Children’s System of Care is involved in a protective capacity with the victims. Richard Knecht, Children’s System of Care program director, said Monday that there was little he could say about the situation. In general, the program assures the safety and well-being of minors. In the Steele case, his program is playing a role. “We have an obligation to keep the minors safe and we’re working to do so,” Knecht said. The two girls involved in the allegations against Steele are described as Jane Does in court documents, under order from Judge Larry Gaddis. Charges involving Jane Doe No. 1, as she is being referred to by the courts, stretch back to Steele’s alleged sex with a child under 10 in December of 2004. The string of charges allege Steele continued his actions through this past July 4. The allegations surrounding Steele and Jane Doe No. 2 begin in February 2002. Until February 2006, the charges involve sex with a child under 10. After that date, the charges involve lewd acts with a child under age 14, ending this past Dec. 31. All are considered serious felonies by the District Attorney’s Office.