By Heather Spaulding
and Colleen Smith Summers
Warning: The following story contains graphic sexual details.
Connor William Daniels, 25, formerly of Friday Harbor, pleaded guilty to three counts of rape of a child in the third degree and one count of indecent liberties on Oct. 11. He was sentenced to 87 months on Nov. 8.
“He was originally asking for a suspended sentence,” Deputy Prosecutor Teresa Barnett said.
Although he did not receive that, Daniels did get a Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative. In order to get an SSOSA, the perpetrator must not have any prior violent criminal history or any other sex offenses; it must not have been a violent offense; and the victim must not have suffered any bodily harm, according to Barnett.
“Although the judge ultimately decides whether to grant an SSOSA, the alternative gives great weight to the victim,” Barnett explained.
Despite the fact both she and the victim opposed it, the alternative was granted. The total sentence, however, was not affected. Daniels received the 87 months Barnett requested.
“The four prior burglaries raised his offender score so this was actually a pretty high sentence,” she explained.
Daniels also was originally only charged with two counts of rape of a child. Barnett added the third charge to the SSOSA to ensure all prior behaviors were included.
The sentencing also orders Daniels to have no direct or indirect contact with minors without prior permission from the Department of Corrections and a sexual deviancy treatment provider. He also may not enter into or remain in areas where minors are known to congregate such as schools or parks or hold any position of trust or authority over minors, including employment and volunteer work. As the court found a substance use disorder contributed to the offense, Daniels has been ordered not to possess or consume alcohol or other controlled substances without a valid prescription.
While the court process was grueling, the survivor stated she was grateful for the support she received.
“[Sheriff] Eric Peter was super helpful, I don’t think he would be in prison if [Peter] hadn’t worked as hard as he did,” the survivor stated.
Although the process was difficult, the survivor stated that reading her impact statement in court was healing.
“In the end, I looked him in the eye and told him never again will you have power over me,” she told the Journal later.
In December 2020, a teen reported to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office that Daniels sexually assaulted her two years earlier. Daniels, who was 20 at the time, allegedly began having sex with the victim after he moved into her family’s home.
According to the probable cause statement, the victim said the first incident occurred in the fall of 2018 when Daniels asked the victim to have sex and she agreed. They had sex again on the couch a few weeks later, an encounter that was witnessed by a friend of the victim. She reported other incidents, including oral sex and waking up to Daniels molesting her. All of the encounters allegedly happened in the victim’s family home.
The victim provided the sheriff’s office with screenshots of Snapchat messenger conversations between her and Daniels wherein she confronts him over the first alleged sexual encounter in which he ”took (her) virginity.” Daniels responded by apologizing and saying that he “hated himself for doing those things” though he claims he was “half-asleep” during the incident.
The victim also provided photos and videos sent to her by Daniels that depicted his nude body and genitals accompanied by lewd captions. In two videos, Daniels refers to the victim by name and says that he loves her.
In April 2021, Detective Lukas Peter interviewed Daniels through Zoom, as he now resides in California. Daniels consented to a recorded interview. He initially denied having any kind of sexual relationship with the victim. He later admitted to rubbing himself against the victim while she slept but thought she was awake.
Wrote Peter: “Daniels claimed he did not recall the specific incidents of sexual intercourse or oral sex, stating that he was using a lot of drugs and alcohol during that period in his life, but said it was plausible that he did have sex with her and perform oral sex on her.”
Daniels’ criminal history includes four counts of burglary in the second degree and hit and run in San Juan County.