PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man is scheduled to be sentenced next week to 5½ years for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman at the man’s house Aug. 8, the day he met her for the first time in person after messaging her for four days on Facebook, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brent Basden said he will finalize the judgment and sentence for Jason Patrick Spaulding, 44, at at 9 a.m. Aug. 17.
The ruling was the result of Spaulding’s guilty plea Jan. 23 to indecent liberties with forcible compulsion, allowing him to avoid trial on charges of second-degree rape against the woman, who had agreed to testify against him.
Spaulding also had been charged with fourth-degree assault for allegedly punching the woman’s male friend after she fled, shirtless, from Spaulding’s Old Mill Road home the afternoon of Aug. 8 after Spaulding raped her, according to the probable cause statement.
The friend also had agreed to testify against Spaulding.
In meting out the punishment Wednesday, Judge Brent Basden rejected the recommendation from Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steve Johnson and Spaulding’s lawyer, Stan Myers of Port Angeles, that he serve nine months rather than imposing the midpoint of the standard sentence range of 57-75 months.
They had argued that Spaulding was eligible for the lighter sentence under the state Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA) program that requires that “the offender had an established relationship with, or connection to, the victim such that the sole connection with the victim was not the commission of the crime.”
In his guilty plea, Spaulding said he knowingly had sexual contact with the woman by forcible compulsion.
“I am sorry for my actions,” Spaulding told Basden on Wednesday. “I know what I did was wrong.
“I feel terrible for the harm I have caused in this case. It’s been a real hard case from both sides.”
Basden had “significant concerns” about Spaulding’s amenability to treatment and questioned the bond between them, saying it did not meet the “established relationship” criteria of the SSOSA statute, sentencing Spaulding to a term near the midpoint of the standard sentence range of 57-75 months.
“They had had a few social media contacts and had been in contact with each other,” Basden said.
“They were strangers for all intents and purposes,” he said.
The assault occurred under circumstances that were “far beyond a simple misunderstanding,” Basden added.
Victims don’t run out of a house half naked “if they haven’t conveyed that they don’t want this to continue,” he said.
Basden continued the sentencing hearing to April 17 to issue written findings denying sentencing under SOSA guidelines.
“We are going to be immediately looking into an appeal,” Myers said after the ruling.
The probable cause statement gave the following account of events:
Spaulding had contacted the woman on Facebook messenger Aug. 1, after which the two communicated several times via Messenger through Aug. 4.
The two met in person for the first time Aug. 8 while with mutual friends at the Tempest Apartments in Port Angeles.
Before the woman and three friends went to Spaulding’s house that afternoon, the woman tolerated Spaulding grabbing her buttocks so she would not “disenchant” Spaulding.
“She believed they were developing a relationship and she was going to live with him.”
Once at his house, “they were preparing a room for her to stay in.”
While in the house alone with Spaulding, he “threw” the woman into a chair, immobilized her and raped her.
”[The woman] said she had been raped before, but she had never been so scared in her life,” according to the statement.
The woman, whose top came off during the struggle, ran outside and found her friend after Spaulding said he was going to take a shower.
Spaulding had three protection orders filed against him by three women between Dec. 29, 2017, and Feb. 16, 2018, according to court records.
According to his pre-sentence investigation, as an adult Spaulding has been found guilty of felony grand theft in Florida, felony first-degree theft in Pierce County, felony second-degree theft in Snohomish and Clallam counties, and two counts of first-degree criminal trespass, two counts of obstructing a law enforcement officer, and one count of third-degree theft — all gross misdemeanors — in Clallam County.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].