A suspected sex offender who eluded authorities for 15 years was assigned a new Douglas County judge today, the second time his case has been transferred because his case goes back to the 1990s.
Gwydyn Stryder Styarfyr, also known as Daniel Clement Chafe, was scheduled to enter a plea today to 18 counts, alleging he abused two underage girls in a scheme to breed a cult subservient to him.
Styarfyr, whose case and flight from justice achieved notoriety on national crime shows, went missing shortly before he was to be arraigned in 1998. He was captured on Jan. 15 in Bozeman, Mont.
The case was originally assigned to Circuit Judge Bill Marshall, but was reassigned because Marshall was senior deputy Douglas County district attorney in 1998.
Today, Judge Frances Burge, who worked in the district attorney’s office for a decade beginning in 1999, said she didn’t have any involvement in the case or could recall discussing it with other attorneys.
Nevertheless, Styarfyr, 62, refused to sign a waiver acknowledging Burge had no conflict of interest.
“Based on that we’ll go ahead and assign it to another judge,” Burge said.
Burge said she will forward the case to Circuit Judge George Ambrosini as soon as possible.
Ambrosini served as circuit judge pro tem and hearings referee from 1999 through 2004, when he was elected judge.
• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.