LAKEPORT -- Michael Dodele served nearly 20 years in prison for the sexual assault of a Santa Rosa woman before he won his freedom two months ago and quietly moved to a mobile home park on the shores of Clear Lake to begin a new life.
Only 35 days later, Dodele was stabbed to death, allegedly by a neighbor who believed the 68-year-old convicted rapist was a child molester because of a confusing posting on an official Web registry for state sex offenders.
Dodele's killing could be the first to result from the state's three-year-old Megan's Law online listing of registered sex offenders.
Dodele's accused killer, a 29-year-old neighbor named Ivan Garcia Oliver, was quoted Monday in the Los Angeles Times as saying he acted to protect a son who had been molested by another person in the past.
The jailhouse interview came last week and followed the Nov. 20 slaying. Oliver pleaded not guilty to murder charges Nov. 30 in Lake County Superior Court.
In addition, a Napa psychologist who testified on Dodele's behalf in earlier court proceedings said Monday she had been told the same by Oliver's wife.
"She told me they believed he (Dodele) had been convicted of having sex with a minor," psychologist Charlotte Steen said.
Steen blamed a state Justice Department Web site for confusing Dodele's criminal record, and creating the possibility that it may have led to his death. Now removed, the listing described Dodele's offenses as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force." State criminal codes blend the two, but in fact Dodele's crimes were against adult women and not children.
To Steen, that's a major distinction.
"Sexual offenders in general are scorned, but especially those who target children," Steen said.
Dodele had received extensive treatment at a state hospital for his behavior. Steen said she believed the treatment, together with his age, meant he would not rape again.