A Measure 11 charge of rape in the first degree against a 16-year-old male Wallowa County student was dismissed without prejudice in Wallowa County Circuit Court Dec. 6.
Wallowa County Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Frolander filed the motion for dismissal, which was granted by Judge Russell B. West. The defendant in the case, whom the Chieftain has not named, was instead charged as a juvenile with sexual abuse in the second degree along with sexual misconduct.
According to court documents, the incident took place Sept. 22 when the defendant allegedly had sex with the victim while she was incapable of consent because of physical helplessness caused by medication she was taking at the time.
The defendant’s attorney, Jared Boyd, said that during an interview with law enforcement, the alleged victim’s doctor had stated the medication in question could not have caused the incapacitation alluded to in the original charges. Boyd said that the state had not even reviewed the evidence in its possession before charging his juvenile client as an adult with a minimum 100-month prison sentence hanging over his head.
The attorney also said he had not received notice of the evidence until Dec. 4, nearly three weeks after his client had been arrested while at school and placed into custody. Boyd also asked that the release agreement, which included the payment of $5,000 bail, the wearing of a GPS bracelet and curfew be rescinded. He also asked for a complete dismissal of the case in the interest of justice.
“This is a situation in which there is direct evidence in the state’s possession ... contradicting the credibility of this witness and what she claims of how this medication affected her, which was their entire case, and that’s why the Rape 1 is being dismissed.”
Judge West said he would not consider an oral motion to dismiss at the hearing, but told Boyd to file a written dismissal motion. Boyd then asked the court to have the state explain why the original charge was dismissed and replaced with the sex abuse charge.
Frolander said that she had received an audio copy of an interview that a Wallowa County deputy sheriff conducted with the alleged victim’s physician. She said the interview was done “some time ago” and the deputy had locked the recording into evidence.
She said she asked for it several times, but did not receive it, although Frolander did not explain why. She stated the recording was taken out of evidence on Friday, Dec. 1, but it was not given to her and no one was available to make copies. The evidence was given to another employee of the sheriff’s office for safekeeping over the weekend and she did not receive it until Dec. 4.
Frolander said that the physician indicated the sleep medication he prescribed to the underage female would not have totally incapacitated her, and she also said the defendant admitted to the victim that he had raped her. The DA then stated that with many persons who undergo trauma, the more they talk and think about the incident, the more information they remember.
Frolander said that it became apparent in subsequent interviews with the girl that the original charges needed to be reduced, but that her credibility was still intact, and that the incident still constituted an illegal act as it was an issue of nonconsent rather than physical helplessness or incapacitation. She stated she gave the interview evidence to Boyd as soon as she received it.
The DA further asked that the defendant’s juvenile release agreement include mandates from the adult release agreement that included the wearing of a GPS bracelet and a mandate not to be within 500 feet of the girl’s home as she still greatly feared him. Upon further questioning from West, Frolander said she did not agree with Boyd’s oral request to dismiss the entire case in the interest of justice.
In regards to the release agreement, Boyd argued that as this was no longer a Measure 11 case, it was entirely different than the original charges. He also said the DA’s office wouldn’t or shouldn’t have filed the Measure 11 charges if they had examined all of the evidence beforehand.
“This is not the same case, these are not the same allegations, so why should they get the same conditions?” Boyd said. He said he specifically objected to his client being removed from school, from having to wear the GPS bracelet and the bail. He added he did not object to the no-contact order or his client having to do a weekly report to law enforcement.
Frolander argued the defendant should still be kept from school because the girl’s home was within 500 feet of it. She also stated she wanted the GPS bracelet in place because the essence of the case remained the same: The defendant had sex with the alleged victim against her will. Frolander said the girl did not feel safe without someone monitoring the defendant. She added she did not object to most of the bail money being returned to the defendant’s family.
In order to bolster his case, Boyd offered three pieces of evidence that included screen shots of the alleged victim’s Facebook page after the incident that he said indicated the girl was not having problems with the defendant’s presence.
Judge West ordered the removal of the GPS bracelet and the 500 feet order and noted the defendant’s parents appeared to closely monitor their son.
On Dec. 20, the defendant entered a denial plea at an admit or deny juvenile hearing. Boyd later filed a 17-page written motion to dismiss the case in the interests of justice. It is expected to be ruled on shortly.