Sequim Police investigate rape allegation, rumors

Investigations to tentatively close this week

Sequim Police continue to investigate an alleged rape and unrelated rumors of a “rape game” involving Sequim High School students.

The first investigation, says Det. Sgt. Darrell Nelson, follows a rape allegation between two minors over an unspecified weekend about a month ago on Sequim School District property. He anticipates officers closing their investigation this week. Nelson would not disclose further details because the allegation is an open investigation and it involves minors.

The second investigation about a “rape game” stemmed from interviews during the first, Nelson said.

“We received a piece of info that a ‘rape game’ was occurring at Sequim High School involving boys trying to rape girls,” he said.

While the second investigation remains open, Nelson said after interviewing six students in the past week the rumors are false.

“There’s nothing that indicates it is remotely true,” he said.

Nelson said the two investigations are closely related but separate and that the minor accused of rape was not a part of the alleged game.

These investigations were alluded to in emails sent out to Sequim High School families on Dec. 9 with the first from Interim Sequim School District Superintendent Jane Pryne.

She wrote that morning, “it has come to the Sequim School District’s attention that there was a social media post last night that has caused concern for several students at Sequim High School. We take these concerns seriously, and out of an abundance of caution the Sequim Police Department is now investigating this situation.”

Two hours later, Sequim High Principal Shawn Langston sent another email to families that “a number of parents have called to inquire more information about the post, specifically, is there an immediate threat to be concerned about?

“Please know that the post referenced an alleged incident between two students off campus over a month ago and made no reference to a threat against SHS as (a) school.

“As stated in Dr. Pryne’s email, the police have been working on this current situation.”

He offered the school’s number for families to reach him with further questions.

Second investigation

The online post went live Dec. 8, Nelson said, and was revealed to police during the interviews with the alleged rape victim in the first investigation who claimed the “rape game” was occurring. Nelson added that this person did not claim they were abused by the game.

“We immediately started an investigation,” Nelson said.

“It’s taken extremely seriously, and we went in from a trauma-informed perspective with empathy and to help any victim impacted from sexual assault and potentially help them with recovery.”

Through the police’s investigation, officers learned that a parent had been watching allegations from another set of parents on social media, leading this parent to ask their child if the accusations were true.

The parent’s child referred to it as a “rape game,” and another student learned about it and posted about it on social media, Nelson said.

“If there was a (rape game), we devoted honest attention and effort and took a trauma-informed approach to create a safe space for the students to talk, and we found there are no victims,” Nelson said.

“No one claimed this occurred. Rather, one student made an accusation that they heard this was occurring from a group of adults.”

“We’re investigating and so far there are no leads of any victims or any suspects,” Nelson said.

“This is not a closed matter for us. All allegations of rape are investigated, and if anyone has information regarding this, and/or has been a victim of sexual assault and it’s gone unreported, we want anyone to call us at (360) 683-7227.”