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Oak Harbor child rapist gets special sentence

Judge Alan Hancock gave a 44-year-old Oak Harbor man a special sentence designed for sex offenders at an unusually lengthy sentencing hearing Monday.

The Island County Superior Court judge sentenced Charles Plunkett to an indeterminate sentence of 123 months to life after he pleaded guilty to first-degree child rape.

Under the sentence, Plunkett will serve at least the minimum sentence of 123 months. After that, a special Department of Corrections committee, called an indeterminate sentencing board, will review his case every two years to determine if he should be released.

Island County Chief Criminal Prosecutor Steve Selby said Plunkett could conceivably serve the rest of his life in prison.

Selby said he asked a half dozen people to speak against Plunkett, and speak of the devastating effect his actions had on the victims, during the sentencing hearing since the sentencing board will look at the transcript of the hearing when they determine if Plunkett should be released.

Plunkett pleaded guilty to raping the 7-year-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend. Selby said the man also sexually molested the woman’s 5-year-old daughter, though he didn’t plead guilty to a second child-rape charge.

Sgt. Jerry Baker of Oak Harbor Police wrote in his report that Plunkett raped the two little girls between June 1, 2003 and Sept. 27, 2003. Baker stated that the girls’ grandmother reported the abuse to the police. The girls were examined by a doctor at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, who found “peculiar and concerning” evidence of trauma on one of the girls, court documents state.

Also, Selby said investigators found semen in one of the girl’s underwear that matched Plunkett’s DNA.

According to Selby, this wasn’t the first time Plunkett has raped little girls. Selby said Plunkett raped two girls in Snohomish County about eight years ago, though he was never charged in the case.

Those victims were at the sentencing hearing Monday. Selby said they were “too choked up” to testify during sentencing, but a Department of Corrections official read a statement from them into the record.

In a terrible irony, Selby said this case wasn’t the first time he’s met the family. He said he also “put away” the girl’s father, who was convicted of a grocery store robbery and the break-in rape of a neighbor woman.

When and if Plunkett is released, he’ll have to abide by a long list of conditions while he remains on parole.

He is prohibited from contact with minors without another adult; he can’t have pornography; he can’t drink alcohol or go into bars; he must complete treatment for sexual deviancy; he must submit to urinalyses, breathalyzer tests, polygraphs and plethysmographs, as directed by a community corrections officer.

Plunkett’s attorney, Terry Smith of Oak Harbor, could not be reached for comment.

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

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