Police in Clyde Hill are investigating two 16-year-old boys from Bellevue High School for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl at a house party in Yarrow Point this April.
According to news reports, all three teenagers attended the party together on April 1st where they reportedly drank a lot of alcohol before the alleged rape occurred. The girl did not realize she had been assaulted until later the next day when she noticed abdominal cramping and blood on her shoes.
Her suspicion was said to be confirmed by a rape kit performed at Harborview Medical Center and by photos of the attack that appeared on social media.
Last week, Clyde Hill police searched the two boys’ cell phones where they found images of the alleged assault. Two other boys had their phones searched by police as well.
The Bellevue High Students have not been charged with any crimes yet. They are still under investigation.
Will the Bellevue High Students be Charged?
Just because someone is under investigation does not mean they will be charged with a crime. However, in a case like this where there is already a great deal of evidence of a serious crime, it seems likely that the students will face charges.
It is important to remember that just because someone is charged with a crime does not mean they are guilty. People are falsely accused and sometimes even convicted of crimes they did not commit.
What Charges Are the Students Facing?
These young men are facing very serious charges. Even though they are under the age of 18, it is possible they would be charged and tried as adults.
The most likely charges are felony sex offenses. They include:
- Rape in the second degree: If evidence shows the girl had passed out or was too drunk to know what she was doing, the boys could be charged with rape in the second degree. This is a Class A felony and punishable by up to life in prison and up to $50,000 in fines, or both.
- Possession of Child Pornography in the First or Second Degree: Whether the boys are charged with first of second-degree possession of child pornography could depend on how sexually explicit the photos are. First degree charges are a class B felony with a maximum term of five years in prison. Second-degree charges are a class C felony with a maximum term of five years in prison.
- Production of Child Pornography: Whoever took the photos at the party could be charged with production of child pornography. This crime can be charged in federal court, where it has a statutory minimum term of 15 years in prison.
It is not just the two boys who may be in danger of prosecution for possession, production, or distribution of child pornography. Anyone who took or shared a photo or video of the attack may be facing charges.
Could the Bellevue High School Students Have to Register as Sex Offenders?
If the boys are found guilty of a sex offense, they will have to register as sex offenders. If they are convicted of a class A felony, their duty to register as a sex offender will carry on indefinitely. If they are convicted of a Class B felony, they will have the duty to register for 15 years.
However, because the two students are juveniles, they can petition the court to remove the registration requirements after a certain period. For Class A felony, they can petition the court for relief from the duty to register after five years of good behavior. For a Class B felony, they can petition the court for relief from the duty to register after two years of good behavior.
What is the Age of Consent in Washington?
The age of consent in Washington is 16. When someone reaches this age, they can consent to sex with anyone, regardless of their age difference. The only exception is for certain supervisory relationships, such as teacher-student, coach-athlete, and supervisor-employee; in such relationships, the age of consent is 18.
For a sex crime to occur on the basis of one participant’s age, though, there also must be a certain difference in the participants’ ages.
When the younger participant is 14 or 15, the other person must be at least four years older for intercourse to be a crime.
Consent Under the Influence of Alcohol in Washington State
While the age difference will likely not be a factor in this case, the presence of alcohol seems likely to be.
The girl told investigators she drank whiskey, vodka, beer, and other liquor that night. This suggests she may have been too drunk to consent to sex—perhaps even unconscious.
When Should You Hire an Attorney After Being Accused of a Crime?
No matter what the crime is, the answer to this question is always the same: get an attorney as soon as you think you may need one.
Even if you have not been arrested and are only under investigation, the sooner you have an experienced attorney at your side, the better. Being charged with a crime – especially when that crime is a felony sex offense – is a serious matter. Whenever you are dealing with the police, you should have an attorney representing you.
Whatever you do, just remember: never speak to the police without an attorney present.
Trust the Marshall Defense Firm with Your Sexual Assault Defense
When you or someone you love is facing sexual assault allegations, it’s a terrifying experience. You may well be up against police and prosecutors who specialize in these types of cases. That’s why you need an attorney who also works on such cases every day.
At the Marshall Defense Firm, defense of those accused of sex offenses is at the heart of our work. We provide strong defense for these high-stakes cases. To learn more about what we do and the clients we’ve helped, click here.