News

19-year-old found guilty of lesser charges

by AMANDA WINTERS
Sequim Gazette

A 19-year-old Sequim man was convicted of third-degree child rape and molestation charges Aug. 31 after fewer than two hours of deliberation by the jury.

 

Dylan S. Valin was charged with three counts of second-degree child rape, two counts of second-degree child molestation and one count of third-degree child rape following his February arrest but the jury found him guilty of lesser charges.

 

Valin committed sexual acts with a 13-year-old girl between December 2010 and February 2011 while living at her house, the jury found.

 

He was found not guilty of third-degree child rape involving a 14-year-old girl. The defendant, wearing a gray dress shirt and black slacks, turned around to smile at a female relative in the audience following the reading of the verdict.

 

Defense of age

Defense attorney Alex Stalker insisted the 13-year-old victim misrepresented her age as 15, leading Valin to believe they were much closer in age.

 

Valin was 18 at the time but told the victim’s mother he was 15, according to court documents.

 

Clallam County Deputy Prosecutor Ann Lundwall argued Valin knew the victim through a mutual 13-year-old friend, knew she played on a middle school sports team and knew his younger sister went to school with the victim.

 

But Stalker said Valin didn’t know what grades attended middle school and he thought since the victim played on a varsity sports team, it was through the high school.

 

Stalker also told the jury they saw the victims during testimony and people can make inferences on people’s ages based on their looks.

 

“His belief that she was 15 was reasonable,” Stalker said.

 

Lundwall disagreed.

 

“He’s living at her house and she’s going to middle school and played on a middle school basketball team,” Lundwall said. “He was the one that knew he was taking advantage of a girl that young.”

 

The jury found it a reasonable defense that Valin believed the victim to be 15 based on statements she made; therefore, they could not find him guilty of second-degree child rape.

Sentencing set

His conviction on five Class C felonies carries a possible standard range sentence of five years. Valin’s sentencing is set for Sept. 29.

 

He remains in custody at the Clallam County jail without bail and faces additional cyberstalking and harassment charges in a separate case involving a third 13-year-old girl.

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.

 

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