Port Angeles man sentenced after charge of rape reduced

Former girlfriend agreed to plea bargain to save son from testifying

PORT ANGELES — A man originally charged with raping his former girlfriend April 2, 2018 while her 4-year-old son was in the home was sentenced this week to a year and a day in prison for fourth-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment.

“Stop it, stop it, it hurts, get off,” the boy told Robert D. Spears, 54, as Spears pinned the boy under his mother while Spears choked her, according to the police probable cause statement.

Spears, 54, entered a modified guilty plea April 23 to reduced charges of solely fourth-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment of the woman, a Lower Elwha Klallam tribal member who lived on the reservation west of Port Angeles.

Spears, a former longtime boyfriend of the woman, entered an Alford plea, not admitting guilt but agreeing there is a “substantial chance” of conviction at trial.

Sentenced Tuesday by Clallam County Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson, Spears originally had been charged with third-degree rape.

The day over one year added to Spears’ sentence means that he will serve his time in a state Department of Corrections facility instead of the county jail.

Spears is not a tribal member.

“He had the choice, and he didn’t make the right choice, and that impacted me and my kids,” the woman, 36, said Tuesday in an interview.

She agreed to the plea deal so her son, now 6, would not have to testify at trial, she said.

“He was a witness and also a victim, in my eyes,” she said.

The woman spoke in court Tuesday in her victim impact statement about the help she and her son are receiving “to make sure this never happens again and that we can go on with our everyday lives and try to put this behind us and not make this the thing that defines who we are and makes us stronger from it,” she said Thursday.

Her advice to abuse victims is, “I would say leave, even if there is just like, even if it’s just emotional or psychological [abuse], leave,” she said.

“Teach your children there’s a better way.”

The woman awoke at 3 a.m. April 2, 2018, to find Spears lying naked in her bed and “trying to cuddle” her, according to the probable cause statement.

Spears refused to stop touching her, she said.

He grabbed her by the neck when she tried to leave the bedroom, forcing her onto the bed on top of her son, who was half asleep, she said.

After Spears let her go, the woman tried to call 9-1-1, and Spears slapped away her cellphone, she said.

She said he raped her twice beginning at about 6 a.m. despite her saying “no.” She reported the assault to authorities at about 8 a.m.

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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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