PORT ANGELES — Douglas J. Allison, a former private school teacher who pleaded guilty to raping and molesting two 10-year-old students, was sentenced Wednesday to 26½ years in prison.
The 55-year-old was the head teacher and principal of Mountain View Christian School near Sequim.
He pleaded guilty last month to two counts of first-degree child molestation and two counts of first-degree child rape for crimes that occurred during his classes last fall and winter.
Clallam County Superior Court Judge Christopher Melly sentenced Allison to 318 months — the top end of the standard sentencing range — and a life of community custody.
“I think that justice deserves it, but I think more importantly, the girls do,” Melly said.
Chief Criminal Deputy Michele Devlin and defense attorney Harry Gasnick of Clallam Public Defender had recommended a minimum 288-month, or 24-year, sentence as part of a negotiated plea agreement.
“On a positive note, and there are precious few positive notes in this case, I appreciate the fact that the girls will not go through the horror of going to trial,” Melly said, choking back tears.
Melly called a recess and returned 90 seconds later.
“I’m a father and an emotional man,” he said.
“[I] can’t think of a more heinous crime than a crime against children.”
Melly said he based the longer sentence on the damage that Allison imposed on two victims, their families and the 15 other students in his class.
The standard sentencing range was 240 months to 318 months.
An apologetic Allison said he was “not sorry” he was caught.
“I am thankful that the abuse has ended for these families, for these girls,” Allison said.
“I wish there was a way to measure the sorrow, how sorry I am.
“The oceans can’t hold the amount of sorrow I feel for what I have done,” Allison added.
“I’m being swept away by a flood of remorse. I’m being crushed by a mountain of guilt and I’m drowning under a sea of shame. I have worked with children for over 16 years, and I have never touched one inappropriately before this.”
“Liar!” a woman shouted from the back of the courtroom.
Allison continued: “This is so out of character for me.
“It makes me sick every time I think about it.”
Allison said he would seek counseling in prison and repeated: “I’m sorry.”
Melly said it was difficult to accept Allison’s statement of remorse because the crimes occurred over several months.
“You’ve got a master’s in education,” Melly said.
“Presumably, you’ve taken psychology classes through the course of that education and training. You should have known that way back when, there was an issue going on, and you neglected to do anything about it. It persisted to criminality.”
Allison’s criminality, Melly said, consigned the victims to flashbacks and nightmares and destroyed all 17 students’ “faith in authority, in the academic community and quite possibly their church.”
Allison was placed on administrative leave when the allegations surfaced and was soon fired by the Washington Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which oversees the school along with a board and the Sequim Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said the crimes occurred at Allison’s desk while other students were studying or watching movies.
A mother of one victim reported sexual abuse after the girl’s cousin raised concerns about Allison’s conduct around certain students. The mother phoned Allison with law enforcement listening in.
“The defendant said that what [the victim] disclosed to her was the truth,” Devlin said.
“When asked where the defendant touched [the victim], the defendant’s response was: ‘I touched her where she asked me to.’ ”
Devlin said Allison manipulated the girls and abused his position of authority.
“The parents entrusted the lives and safety and welfare of their children to the defendant,” Devlin said.
“He was a father figure to some.”
Other students told authorities that Allison played favorites, gave special privileges to the two girls and touched them inappropriately, often with them seated on his lap.
“He was actually talked to about touching the children on March 8,” Devlin said.
After his March 29 arrest, Allison confessed to sexual contact with both girls, Clallam County Sheriff’s Detective Brian Knutson said in the arrest report.
Allison was originally charged with a dozen sex crimes — four counts of first-degree child rape and eight counts of child molestation.
He pleaded guilty to the amended charges Aug. 4.
A mother of one victim said she confided in her daughter’s teacher and that the family had become close to “Mr. A,” who taught fourth- through eighth-grade.
“I was in complete and utter shock and denial that someone I put so much faith, trust, value and admiration in would do such an atrocious and disgusting act to an innocent child,” the mother said in a victim impact statement.
“For someone of Christian faith, in an authoritative position, teaching my and other children what’s right and wrong, guiding them for the future, I felt deceived.
“He had deceived our entire family, built special relationships with every one of us,” she added.
“The more I look back, the more I feel as if he had been grooming our family for his own twisted needs from day one.”
The woman urged Melly to impose the maximum 318-month sentence.
The sentence from the bench becomes the minimum term and is subject to a review of the Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board.
“Judge Melly demonstrated an understanding of the gravity of the crimes committed, and it was reflected in the sentence that he imposed,” Healthy Families of Clallam County Executive Director Becca Korby said in a later interview.
“Healthy Families has great hope that that understanding continues in the future and is reflected in how our judges view sex crimes against children and adults.”
Devlin displayed in court photographs of Allison’s classroom and the desk where the crimes occurred.
She also showed photographs of the two girls, the only students in the school yearbook with angels near their pictures.
“They are angels,” Devlin said.
“They were 10 years old, and their innocence was taken away from them.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.