WALLA WALLA -- The trial for a suspect charged with 15 felony counts in a sex-abuse case has been postponed a third time in Walla Walla County Superior Court.
Carl G. Bell Jr., 32, of 519 Coppei Ave., Waitsburg, now is set for trial June 9 and 10. The proceedings initially were scheduled for November, delayed to January and then set for March 9 and 10.
Bell is charged with three counts of first-degree rape of a child, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and 10 counts of first-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
He is accused of having sexual intercourse with a preteen girl twice in June and once in August of last year. He took a digital picture of one of the rapes that occurred in June, according to officials.
Walla Walla police said that also last summer, Bell started taking posed, nude pictures of the girl on multiple occasions in Walla Walla, ostensibly to help her submit them to a modeling agency. The agency, however, allegedly existed only through an e-mail account Bell created to receive the pictures.
In addition, Bell persuaded the girl to take seven pictures of a different girl in naked poses at a park in Waitsburg in late August, according to police. He's also suspected of trying to solicit a third girl to send nude pictures to the e-mail address.
Officials reportedly obtained the digital images of the girls by serving a search warrant Aug. 31. Bell's cell phone, laptop computer and other electronic storage devices were seized for further investigation.
He was arrested and booked into the County Jail. If convicted as charged, Bell would face a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Terry McConn can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8319.