Port Angeles man pleads not guilty to rape charges

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man charged with raping two 14-year-old girls has pleaded not guilty.

Justin Michael Thayer, 20, was arraigned Friday on a charge of third-degree child rape of one of the girls. The charge was filed July 29.

He also pleaded not guilty to second-degree rape by forcible compulsion and three charges of third-degree child rape of the other girl. Those charges were filed Tuesday.

Status hearings on both cases were set Friday for 9 a.m. Aug. 28.

Separate four-day trials were set for September and October.

He knew both teenagers, meeting one at a birthday party for a 14-year-old girl, according to court documents.

Both girls said Thayer ignored their pleas to stop while he was assaulting them, according to court documents.

The newest charges grew out of four alleged sexual assaults that allegedly occurred between Jan. 27- May 8, 2019, according to the criminal information. The girl is now 15, according to court documents.

The alleged assaults were reported by Child Protective Services, which reported the girl was having a sexual relationship with an older man later identified as Thayer, according to a probable cause statement written by Port Angeles Police Officer Jeffery Ordona.

The girl was 14 during two sexual encounters, while Thayer was 18 when the relationship began and 19 when it ended, according to the statement.

During the alleged assault, she yelled at him and pushed him off of her, according to the statement.

Thayer admitted to having a sexual relationship with the girl, saying the encounters occurred at the same locations in his vehicle that the girl said they occurred.

“Thayer told me that he and [the girl’s] age difference was his ‘biggest concern’ and that some people thought it was legal, while others disagreed,” Ordona said in the statement.

The age of consent in Washington is 16.

Thayer said he had consensual sex with the other 14-year-old, according to the probable cause statement written by county sheriff’s Deputy Marc Titterness.

The two were at her friend’s house when she and the friend fell asleep, and she woke up to him taking off her clothes, she said.

“[The girl] told Justin to stop several times while Justin was messing with her pants,” according to the statement.

“[The girl] was in and out of consciousness, would wake up and not remember what was happening.”

Thayer remained in the county jail Friday on $100,000 bail.

Third-degree child rape is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.

Second-degree rape by forcible compulsion is a Class A felony punishable by up to life in prison and a maximum $50,000 fine

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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