A Clallam County Superior Court judge sentenced a 16-year-old Sequim boy Dec. 16 to be held until his 21st birthday for what the judge called “the most serious offenses” he has seen in his three years on the bench.
The juvenile, who won’t be named because of his age, was convicted Dec. 7 of two counts of child rape, one count of indecent exposure and one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.
Judge S. Brooke Taylor, who presided over the two-day fact-finding trial in Clallam County Juvenile Court, found the juvenile raped two of his young neighborhood playmates in 2008 and asked another for sex.
The juvenile, arrested in January 2009, has been in custody for nearly two years as the case went through several phases to determine whether the case should be tried in adult or juvenile court, and to weed out incompetent witnesses.
“I bent over backwards to protect his rights every step of the way,” Taylor said.
‘I hope I never see you again’
A dozen friends and family members of the victims, two of whom were present, sat in the audience along with the juvenile’s mother during the sentencing.
“I hope you stay in jail forever because you know it was the wrong thing to do to rape me,” one of the victims, now 12 years old, read from a prepared statement. “I hope I never see you again.”
Another victim said he hopes the juvenile will make better decisions.
“I feel you have done a wrong thing and you need help,” he said.
The juvenile’s mother told the judge she loved her son unconditionally and will be there for him no matter what.
When given a chance to address the court, the juvenile declined.
Argument over sentencing
Clallam County Deputy Prosecutor Tracey Lassus said she didn’t know how the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration’s programs would help the juvenile because he hasn’t shown any remorse or recognition that his actions were wrong.
“There has been no acceptance of his actions,” she said, comparing him to his older brother who was sentenced Nov. 18 until his 21st birthday on a child molestation and indecent exposure conviction.
“I saw a glimmer of hope in (his brother) but I don’t see that in him,” she said.
Defense attorney Carol Mortensen argued her client has served enough time already.
“We have a child with a standard range sentencing of 30 to 40 weeks that, served consecutively, he has already served,” she said.
Taylor said his need to protect the community and provide the juvenile an opportunity at rehabilitation made the longer sentence necessary.
“The situation here is absolutely compelling,” he said.
Lassus said the juvenile will be given a complete psychiatric and psycho-social evaluation and transported to a JRA sex offender rehabilitation center.
Reach Amanda Winters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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