Hoopa-area fisheries biologist Joshua Seth Strange will be sentenced to 12 years in state prison for sexually molesting a 9-year-old girl.

Strange pleaded guilty this morning to continuous sexual abuse of a child, with an agreed-upon sentence of 12 years. Because the crime is considered a serious and violent felony, or “strike,” he must serve 85 percent of that time before he is eligible for parole.


As part of the negotiated plea, Strange gave up his right to appeal. He must register as a sex offender for life and could be on parole for up to 20 years.

Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads told Judge Kaleb Cockrum that victim Jane Doe reported the molestation in July 2018, partially because she was concerned Strange might molest his own young daughter. He was arrested on a warrant about a month later at his Hoopa-area home, where officers found him hiding in a closet.

Doe reported the molestation included Strange touching her vagina, orally copulating her and “putting his penis inside her mouth,” Eads said.

During a phone conversation at some point after the molestation, Strange admitted the acts but told the girl she was the only child he had ever touched in that way.

Strange was originally charged with two counts of molesting a child under 14 and two counts of sexual penetration of a child 10 years old or younger. The latter charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years to life. Those charges were dismissed today after Strange pleaded guilty.

Twelve years is the middle term for continuous sexual abuse of a child, with the maximum 16 years. For 11 years Strange worked as a fisheries biologist for the Yurok Tribe. He then went on to serve four years as a senior fisheries biologist for the company Stillwater Sciences. In 2016 he founded his own business, Sweet River Sciences.

Strange was a well-known speaker and writer whose testimony helped persuade a federal judge to prohibit the release of extra water from the Klamath River for Central Valley farmers. He also was a whitewater-rafting expert and teacher.

At Deputy Public Defender Luke Brownfield’s request, Cockrum referred the case to the Probation Department for a pre-sentence report.

Strange is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 7 by Judge Larry Killoran. He remains in custody on bail of $1.4 million.