New attorney named for man accused of child rape

PORT ANGELES — A 26-year-old Port Angeles man charged with raping a 14-year-old girl has a new attorney.

Tucker Scott Kahler will be represented by Sequim attorney Lawrence Freedman, Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brent Basden ruled Friday.

Kahler is charged with second-degree rape and third-degree rape of a child. He is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 27. He is being held in the Clallam County jail on $500,000 bail.

Kahler’s appointed attorney, Alex Stalker of Clallam Public Defender, disclosed Friday that he had discovered new evidence provided by another one of his clients, resulting in a conflict of interest.

“There’s an informant, a jailhouse informant, who indicates that certain statements were made by Mr. Kahler to him,” Stalker said in a Friday court hearing.

“And because of certain details, I’m also a potential witness.

“So that’s a pretty clear conflict,” Stalker added. “I have to withdraw.”

Basden appointed Freedman to represent Kahler on the child rape case but allowed Stalker to continue to represent Kahler on a failure to register as a sex offender case.

“The only thing that could be a potential conflict in that case is that we received a global resolution,” Stalker said.

“The state’s offer on (the child rape cased) anticipates a dismissal of (the failure to register case) if that global officer is accepted.”

A status hearing for both cases is set for 9 a.m. Jan. 3.

Port Angeles police said that Kahler met the alleged victim at the Sequim Walmart on July 21, exchanged phone numbers with the girl and raped her that evening on Ediz Hook.

The girl’s grandmother reported the rape Aug. 31.

Kahler was convicted of first-degree child molestation in Clallam County in 2012 and registered as having no fixed address April 18, according to the affidavit for probable cause.

Clallam County sheriff’s deputies conducted physical checks of the parking lot around the Sequim IHOP where Kahler was reportedly staying on the nights of July 24 and 25 and could not find Kahler or his Subaru, court papers said.

Kahler has pleaded not guilty to the charges in both cases.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.