Hammond fisherman pleads not guilty to sex crimes

Dennis Lee Sturgell Sr.

Dennis Lee Sturgell Sr., a well-known Hammond fisherman, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to multiple charges involving alleged sex crimes against a young woman in 2015.

Sturgell, 65, was indicted in November on seven sex abuse charges, four counts of first-degree sodomy and two counts of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration. He was arrested and released on $500,000 bail.

Sturgell allegedly coordinated with James Lee Cunningham, 46, of Astoria, to commit several sex crimes against the woman while she was incapacitated one day in August 2015. Cunningham, who is serving time in prison for a separate case and has not been scheduled for arraignment, has been charged with several sex crimes, including one count of first-degree rape.

Sturgell faces a minimum of 62 1/2 years in prison if convicted.

Oregon Assistant Attorney General Erin Greenawald, who has expertise in domestic and sexual violence crimes, is prosecuting the case, along with the Clatsop County District Attorney’s Office. Sturgell has been scheduled for an early resolution conference in May.

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