Sequim man acquitted of one charge, jury hung on another charge

PORT ANGELES — A 54-year-old Sequim man has been acquitted of an attempted rape charge while a second count of indecent liberties remains unresolved.

Joseph G. Price was found not guilty Friday of second-degree attempted rape of a woman who was incapable of consent.

The six-man, six-woman jury could not reach a verdict on whether Price committed indecent liberties with incapable consent.

Both charges stemmed from a January 2017 incident in which Price allegedly had sexual contact with a co-worker who was sleeping on a chair in her home. The alleged crime occurred after Price had driven the woman home from work, Sequim police said.

Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sarah Woolman said Tuesday the case against Price remains open.

A new trial date for the indecent liberties charge is expected to be set at Price’s next court hearing Thursday, Woolman said.

The first trial last week included testimony from Price and the alleged victim. Price posted a $5,000 bail in February 2017 and has remained out of custody.

Woolman and defense attorney John Hayden of Clallam Public Defender delivered their closing arguments Thursday. The jury announced its verdicts at 11:06 a.m. Friday, according to the minutes of the trial.

The woman told Sequim police that she was “jolted” out of sleep to find Price having sexual contact with her on the morning of Jan. 20, 2017, according to the affidavit for probable cause.

The woman told Officer Kindryn Leiter that she had turned down Price’s sexual advances one day prior to the incident.

After Price left the woman’s residence, the alleged victim confronted him via text message, saying “I don’t think I should get rides from you anymore,” Leiter wrote in the arrest narrative.

Price replied that he had misunderstood the woman’s signals and apologized for the “misunderstanding,” Leiter wrote.

The woman reported the alleged crime on Jan. 23, 2017. Price declined to be interviewed by Leiter.

Under state law, indecent liberties occurs when someone “knowingly causes another person to have sexual contact with him or her or another.”

A person is incapable of consent if he or she is “mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless,” according to the statute.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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