February 1, 2013

Second Tacoma Date Rape Charge Filed Against University Student

by The Law Office of Timothy L. Healy

A college student has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman with whom he had been out on a date in Tacoma. iceteainnice.jpg

Our Tacoma sex crimes defense attorneys understand that this is the second time in the last three years that the 26-year-old Federal Way man has been accused of a similar assault.

Date rape in Tacoma is a serious crime, but in the hands of an experienced criminal defense attorney is generally an uphill battle for prosecutors. Still, these charges need to be taken seriously by suspects. Oftentimes, defendants may feel they have done nothing wrong, and are therefore open to speaking with investigators without an attorney present. This is an unwise decision because too many times, prosecutors end up using a suspect's own words against him later in court.

Washington State doesn't have a "date rape law" per se, so individuals are charged under regular sexual assault statutes. Most commonly in these situations, we see defendants charged with third-degree rape under RCW 9A.44.060. This is defined as when a person engages in sexual intercourse with another person to whom they are not married when the victim clearly did not consent to the act, either by words or conduct. In this case, conduct could mean that the individual was intoxicated or unconscious. It is a Class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Prosecutors are alleging that the pair went out for drinks at several Tacoma bars. At some point, they say, the defendant, a University of Washington fraternity president on the Tacoma campus, put a sedative in his date's drink before taking her back to his apartment and sexually assaulting her.

The woman told investigators the last thing she remembered was sitting at a table in front of a beer and appetizers. She said she later awoke with no clothes on, in pain in the defendant's bedroom. She said she was confused, disoriented and spoke with him briefly before leaving.

The woman said she called her sister, who then hurried home to take her to a nearby hospital where a sexual assault examination was conducted.

Lab tests reportedly revealed the woman had taken a powerful sleeping aid that also causes memory loss.

The woman, still confused, sent the defendant a text message. He responded, allegedly admitting that he had sex with her while she was passed out. This message was then forwarded to investigators.

She also recalled that at some point during the date, the defendant railed about another woman he had dated several years earlier who had a mental illness and accused him of rape.

Court records show he was accused of sexually assaulting a 21-year-old female while at a fraternity party. The woman alleged he "prodded" her into drinking numerous shots of hard liquor. She said she refused his sexual advances, but he later pulled her into a bedroom and demanded oral sex. When she refused, prosecutors said, he pinned her on the bed and sexually assaulted her.

That complaint was heard at an administrative hearing, consisting of fraternity members and alumni. The defendant at that time claimed the woman had changed her mind after they had already begun to have a consensual sexual encounter.

He later told police the only protestation from the woman was that he hadn't used a condom. Still, the charge was modified to one of harassment. And he was not required to register as a sexual offender.

If you have been arrested for a sex crime in Tacoma, contact Timothy L. Healy at 888-312-3093 - a 24-hour hotline.

Additional Resources:
Ex-UW frat president charged with rape, again, Jan. 30, 2013, By Levi Pulkkinen, Seattle Post Intelligencer

More Blog Entries:
Tacoma Rape Case Dropped Against Former Principal, Jan. 23, 2013, Tacoma Sex Crimes Attorney Blog