Pacasum trial postponed until May

The trial for 18-year-old David Pacasum of Orcas Island has been continued until May 5. Pacasum was charged with three counts of rape of a child in the first degree and one count of child molestation in the first degree in the San Juan County Superior Court on Nov. 19, 2019, and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Dec. 2, 2019.

The omnibus is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on March 9.

On Jan. 6, the defense requested a sexual deviancy expert be appointed as an expert at the public’s expense. According to court documents, Pacasum’s defense lawyer Colleen Kenimond stated she believes he would qualify for a special sex offender sentencing alternative. She added that the state has indicated it would like to see the results of a sexual deviancy evaluation as well.

Kenimond stated in the request that the standard sentencing range for the crimes Pacasum is charged with is 240-318 months to life imprisonment. At 18 years old and with a full confession, she said she believes he would likely be convicted.

In Washington state’s laws lies a sentence of treatment for sex offenders — the Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative. This option may be granted in lieu of a prison sentence under certain conditions. It requires some jail time in conjunction with outpatient treatment and supervision.

According to the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, offenders who receive alternative sentencing have lower violent felony and felony sex crime recidivism rates.

To qualify, the offender must be convicted of a crime other than rape in the second degree; plead guilty to said crime with admittance of guilt; have no prior convictions for felony sex offenses; have no prior violent offenses as an adult within five years of the latest offense; the latest offense did not cause substantial bodily harm to the victim; the offender’s standard sentence range is fewer than 11 years; a determination by the court about whether the offender is amenable to treatment; and the offender has an established relationship or connection to the victim. An examination by an expert witness will help the court determine whether the sentencing alternative is an option for the case.