PORT ANGELES — Nikolas Reinhardt Clark was sentenced Thursday to more than 18 years in prison for raping and assaulting a woman he met on Craigslist.
Clark, a 30-year-old Tacoma native who was living in Port Angeles when the crimes occurred, apologized for his actions before he was sentenced in Clallam County Superior Court.
“I just want to say that I am really sorry for what I’ve done,” Clark said.
“There was a lot of emotional damage caused by her actions as well, but that doesn’t excuse my behavior. I’m not saying that.”
Port Angeles police said Clark repeatedly beat and raped a 24-year-old woman late last year after the woman refused to commit to an exclusive dating relationship with him.
Clark entered an Alford plea May 3 to single counts of second-degree rape with forcible compulsion, third-degree rape, second-degree assault with strangulation, fourth-degree assault and assault in violation of a no-contact order. All five charges carried domestic violence enhancements.
An Alford plea means a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Clallam County Superior Court Judge Erik Rohrer sentenced Clark to 220 months — or 18 years, 4 months — plus three years community custody.
Clark began to sob at one point during his unscripted statement, saying that he and the victim had been drinking “a lot” of alcohol when the violence escalated in early December.
“I’m not saying that anybody coerced me into doing that, but I had a lack of judgment or a lack of memory,” Clark said. “I’m not saying that that’s a reason or an excuse.
“I’ve never been addicted to alcohol or anything,” Clark added, “but it seems that whenever I have that in my life, I do bad things, and I don’t want to do bad things.”
Kennedy displayed photographs of bruises on the woman’s body that were taken after the crimes were reported to authorities.
“She literally had the tar beaten out of her for several days here,” Kennedy said.
“And these pictures only illustrate the physical assaults. They do not illustrate the sexual assaults or the psychological trauma she had to endure.”
Kennedy said the woman was strangled with a phone cord and Clark’s hands. She had a knife pulled on her and was repeatedly raped, Kennedy said.
“The defendant even took her phone and texted her boss at one point that she quit her job so that her absence at a mandatory work meeting wouldn’t raise suspicions among her coworkers,” Kennedy said.
“However, this backfired and her coworkers were suspicious of her actions and went to her house. I have no doubt that that act saved her life.”
Kennedy and defense attorney John Hayden of Clallam Public Defender had recommended a 210-month sentence for Clark.
Based on Clark’s limited criminal history, the standard sentencing range was 210 to 280 months.
“This case had a lot of moving parts and a lot of stuff in it,” Hayden told Rohrer.
“I don’t think the government would be recommending 210 months if it wasn’t appropriate.”
Rohrer said he deviated from the recommended sentence for several reasons, including a state Department of Corrections recommendation for a mid-range sentence and a “very articulate and heartfelt statement” from the victim.
The victim impact statement was read in court by Becca Korby, Healthy Families of Clallam County executive director, who faced Clark as she spoke.
“What was stolen from me is not replaceable,” the victim said in her statement. “My body was stolen, my mind was invaded, my humanity was robbed and my dignity was destroyed.”
The woman said that Clark took her sense of security.
“And though I am no longer being beaten, threatened, raped, and for lack of a more fitting term, tortured, that fear remains,” she said.
“I am haunted by the apparition of what happened in that house.”
The woman said she could not articulate the impact of Clark’s crimes or quantify a just punishment.
“The extent of dehumanization that was perpetrated seems to beg for a harsh sentence,” the victim said.
“I remember him siting on top of me with his hands on my throat after he had ripped my shirt off screaming in my face ‘I’m going to kill you.’ From the look in his eyes, he meant it.”
Kennedy said that Clark could not accept the fact that the woman would not commit to an exclusive relationship with him and “sought to dominate her until she changed her mind.”
“The brutality he visited upon her did not appear overnight,” Kennedy said.
“It escalated over time. And like many victims of domestic violence, the victim in this case didn’t realize how serious the situation was until it was too late.”
Clark recalled finding evidence that the woman was involved with other men on her social media accounts and phone.
“When I was drinking and seeing her and find something I don’t like, I felt like I was possessed,” Clark said.
“I honestly did not feel like myself.”
Clark apologized to the victim by name. He said that his version of the events differed from the prosecution’s summary.
“I’m at the mercy of the court, your honor,” Clark told Rohrer.
“I’d like to some day come back out of this and be a valuable asset to the community.
Clark added: “I never thought that anything like this would end up happening to me, or me doing this to somebody.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].