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ROTC rapist enters special program

A 19-year-old JROTC student who raped a fellow student while they were visiting Whidbey Island Naval Air Station last year was sentenced last week in Island County Superior Court.

Daniel Mullen, a Spanaway resident, pleaded guilty March 5 to third-degree rape.

Wednesday, Judge Vickie Churchill agreed to sentence Mullen under the Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative program, which provides for reduced jail time in exchange for treatment.

Churchill concurred with the plea bargain, ordering that Mullen’s eight-month sentence be suspended, and instead, he serve two weeks in jail and enter into special treatment for sex offenders.

“It’s very important that you learn what triggers this behavior and that you stop it,” Churchill said.

Chief Criminal Deputy Andrea Vingo characterized the case as “absolutely appropriate” for the treatment program. The victim sat next to her at the meeting, but didn’t say anything. Vingo said the short jail time, which Mullen will serve after school classes, was also appropriate.

“I think two weeks is just enough time to let him know what the inside of a jail is like so he doesn’t find himself there again,” Vingo said.

Mullen apologized.

“I’m sorry for what I did and I wish to move on and learn from this,” he said, adding that he hopes to pursue his goals in higher education.

Special Agent Jared Warner with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigated the case. He wrote that a group of students from Spanaway High School, as well as adult leaders, stayed at the bachelor officers’ quarters on base March 4, 2006. They were taking part in a Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps competition at Oak Harbor High School.

A 17-year-old student reported that Mullen sexually assaulted her when she was in his room. The girl struggled against Mullen and repeatedly told him “no” when he pinned her to the bed, pulled off her sweatpants and sexually assaulted her.

The assault ended abruptly when another ROTC student knocked on the door. The victim said she opened the door, grabbed the other student by the arm and left.

Warner interviewed Mullen the morning of the assault at the NCIS office. Warner wrote that Mullen “admitted culpability” for the rape and admitted that the girl “verbally and physically tried to stop him.”

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611.

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