PORT TOWNSEND — A Forks man has been sentenced in Jefferson County Superior Court to more than 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree rape in September.
Clallam County charges against Richard Dickinson, 34, were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy said he believes the sentence issued Oct. 16 represents a positive resolution of the case.
He also credited the victim for bearing with a “significant delay” in prosecution resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted a postponement of a two-week trial that had been set to begin March 30.
“The victim was particularly strong and stayed with the case over the course of a year and a half, which does not always happen, particularly with violent sex offenses,” Kennedy said in an email.
On March 7, 2019, Dickinson encountered his ex-girlfriend on the side of Highway 101 south of Forks and forced her into his pickup truck, according to court records.
The records said that Dickinson drove to a remote location on the west end of Jefferson County where he forcibly raped her before returning to the highway to drop her off.
Unbeknownst to Dickinson, the woman had recorded the several-hour incident on her cell phone, according to court records. She later returned to Forks and flagged down a Clallam County Sheriff’s deputy for help.
At the time of the incident, the woman had three no-contact orders protecting her from Dickinson, according to court records.
Dickinson pleaded guilty to one count of rape Sept. 18. He had previously faced six counts in Jefferson County, including first-degree kidnapping, first- and second-degree rape, second-degree assault, violation of a no-contact order and harassment with threats to kill.
Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sarah Woolman had been prosecuting Dickinson for related offenses in Clallam County, including second-degree assault, second-degree assault of a child, reckless driving and violation of a no-contact order with two or more previous convictions.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the Clallam County charges and the remaining Jefferson County charges, according to court records.
Judge Keith Harper sentenced Dickinson to 170 months, the mid-point in a sentencing range of 146-194 months based on his criminal history. Dickinson has one prior felony conviction for bail jumping, and five prior domestic violence-related misdemeanor convictions.
Dickinson was ordered to be on community custody for the remainder of his life, according to court records, and he will be subject to the independent sentencing review board.
He was also ordered to undergo evaluation and treatment for being a sex offender, as well as for chemical dependency and domestic violence.
Once he’s released, Dickinson will have to pay $600 in court fees, according to court records. He also will have to register as a sex offender and can never again have contact with his victim.
In an interview at the Jefferson County Jail in Port Hadlock as part of a pre-sentencing investigation report filed Oct. 12, Dickinson said that he and his victim consumed methamphetamine during the incident, authorities said, adding that he also indicated that his anger issues and drug use contributed to the offense.
“I obviously regret what happened that night,” he said during the interview. “Because of it, my kids will grow up without a father.”
Jefferson County senior reporter Nicholas Johnson can be reached by phone at 360-417-3509 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.