By DAVE STEPHENS
South Bend Tribune
12:50 PM PST, January 18, 2012
A twice-convicted child molester is headed back to prison again after he received a 3-year prison sentence for molesting a 6-year-old boy.
Ray Stewart, of Mishawaka, was arrested in August after the boy told his mother about Steward touching the boy’s genitals over his clothing two separate times.
According to prosecutors, the then-56-year-old Stewart was working as a maintenance man at an apartment complex near the 100 Center in Mishawaka.
The boy had been watching Stewart fix a faulty toilet in the apartment and then followed him outside.
The mother told investigators she had checked on her son every minute or two while he was with Stewart, but then noticed they were both gone.
The mother told police she searched for 15 to 20 minutes before she found her son and Stewart alone in an apartment stairwell. Later, the boy told his mother that Stewart touched him in the stairwell and while they both had been in Stewart’s truck.
On Nov. 28, Stewart pleaded guilty to sexual battery, a Class D felony — the third time he had been convicted of a sexual crime.
According to the Indiana Department of Correction offender registry, Stewart had been convicted in 1986 and 1996 of child molestation. In the 1996 case, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with five suspended, but was released in 2004 with good behavior credit.
Today, St. Joseph County Superior Court Judge John Marnocha sentenced Stewart to three years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed for a Class D felony.
Marnocha also ordered Stewart, who was already registered on the state sex offenders’ registry, to register again as a lifetime sexual offender.