Guilty pleas entered for raping three girls

One an Alford plea; man could face four years in prison

PORT ANGELES — A former Port Angeles man who pleaded guilty this week to raping two 14-year-old girls and a 15-year-old girl in 2019 and 2020 will be sentenced Nov. 16.

Justin Michael Thayer, 21, of Edmonds could serve four years in prison. He entered the pleas Tuesday to two counts of third-degree child rape and one charge of third-degree rape for assaulting the third victim who was 15 at the time. Her age was within four years of Thayer’s.

Thayer pleaded guilty under an Alford plea to the third-degree rape charge in order to take advantage of a plea offer, stating his innocence but asserting he could be convicted if tried.

The victim and Thayer had been friends for about a year, she told Deputy Marc Titterness of the Clallam County Sheriff’s office.

Thayer’s trial on four charges of third-degree child rape and one charge of second-degree rape-forcible compulsion had been scheduled for Oct. 11.

Under the plea agreement, in which two rape cases against Thayer were combined into one, four Clallam County Sheriff’s Office cases and one Port Angeles Police Department case will not be pursued.

Information on those allegations was not available from the two agencies late Wednesday afternoon.

Thayer could be sentenced to four years in prison on each count and 36 months of community custody under a recommendation from the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The sentences would run concurrently.

Thayer’s standard sentence range is 46-60 months on each child rape charge and 41-54 months on the third-degree rape charge.

Third-degree rape, a Class C felony, occurs when there is not consent to sexual intercourse or if there is a threat of substantial harm to the victim’s property rights.

Third-degree child rape, a Class C felony, occurs when a person has sexual intercourse with someone who is between 14-16 years old and the perpetrator is at least four years older than the victim.

Two of the girls, who were friends, said they were passed out or near passing out when Thayer assaulted them, according to a probable cause statement in one case.

A third said Thayer raped her after she told him to stop. Thayer admitted he had a sexual relationship with her, according to the probable cause statement in the other case.

Thayer assaulted them between April 25, 2019-May 15, 2020.

Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson ordered a pre-sentence investigation.

Thayer, who was on electronic home monitoring, was handcuffed and incarcerated in the Clallam County jail without bail pending his sentencing.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@ peninsuladailynews.com.

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