Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Moses Lake man appears in court on rape charges

Staff Writer | December 24, 2021 1:03 AM

A Moses Lake man accused of raping a child, which resulted in a baby’s birth, had his first appearance Thursday afternoon in Grant County Superior Court.

Richard Jensen Jr., 25, was charged with three counts of first-degree child rape, a Class A felony.

He was arrested Wednesday after the Grant County Sheriff’s Office received information indicating he had fathered a child with an 11-year-old girl.

“Detectives interviewed the 11-year-old and learned information about the suspect. … Once the baby was born, DNA samples were collected and sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab for analysis. The results of the DNA test indicate that the suspect is the father of the baby,” GCSO Public Information Officer Kyle Foreman said.

Jensen, who is being held on a $500,000 bond, appeared in court shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday. He said little during the hearing with public defender Dean Terrillion speaking on his behalf throughout the short proceeding.

Grant County Superior Court Judge Anna Gigliotti explained the charges to Jensen and asked if he understood the consequences.

“The maximum penalty is life in prison and a $50,000 fine,” Gigliotti said.

Jensen said he understood the charges and penalties, after which Grant County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carlee Bittle requested the bond amount and protective orders in the interest of the victim’s and community’s safety. Bittle reviewed Jensen’s criminal history, which includes a conviction of felony delivery of a controlled substance and multiple prior bench warrants for failure to appear. In asking for the half-million-dollar bond, Bittle said the prosecution felt Jensen presented a danger to the community.

“This is a serious violent offense. (There are) three Class A felonies that are strike sentenced,” Bittle said. “If the defendant is convicted and sentenced, he’s looking at a significant amount of time incarcerated. The victim in this matter is a particularly vulnerable victim. She was 11 years old, from an unstable home environment that the defendant was apparently very well aware of. The defendant made statements to law enforcement that he knew that any sexual contact with the victim or any individual at that tender age of 11 would be illegal and be a crime.”

Bittle said the victim in the case had gotten pregnant and endured an emergency C-section delivery of the baby that resulted from Jensen’s alleged abuses.

If Jensen does make bond, Gigliotti said he would be under orders to make contact with his attorney at least once per week, could not be in the presence of minors without the supervision of an adult who is aware of his pending case, and could have no contact of any kind with the victim or her family. Any address Jensen resides at while on bond must be reviewed and approved by the court and he will have a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., Gigliotti said.

Jensen’s arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 4, 2022, in the Grant County Superior Court. A review of the protective order preventing him from contacting the 11-year-old or her family is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 12, 2022.

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