News

Prostitution promotion alleged

By JESSIE STENSLAND

Staff reporter

A 25-year-old Oak Harbor man accused of trying to talk a Navy man into paying $260 to have sex with a woman at a Highway 20 hotel has been charged in Island County Superior Court, according to court documents.

Prosecutors charged Justin Ritchie Oct. 18 with promoting prostitution in the second degree and unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree.

Ritchie was in court Oct. 28 and asked for his arraignment to be set over a week.

Detective Carl Seim with the Oak Harbor Police wrote that a 22-year-old sailor said he was trying to get a room at the Coachman Inn Oct. 13 when Ritchie approached him. The sailor ended up going to Ritchie’s room and agreed to pay $20 to sit on a bed with a woman and discuss sexual favors, the report states.

While the sailor was in the room, Ritchie was sitting at a table with a handgun on it, the muzzle pointing at the bed, Seim wrote.

The 19-year-old woman told the sailor that sex would cost $260. The sailor and Ritchie left to go to the ATM, but the Navy man claimed he was unable to get enough money. He ended up going back to the base and calling the police.

The police took both Ritchie and the woman into custody. The woman said she was from Las Vegas, where she had worked as a prostitute, and moved to Oak Harbor. She applied for a half dozen jobs, but was broke. She said she met Ritchie and he offered to help her make some money, Seim wrote. She said Ritchie brought the gun with him everywhere he went.

“They were sitting in the Jacuzzi and Ritchie had the gun on top of the toilet and when they went to sleep Ritchie had the gun in the bed,” Seim wrote. “(The woman) told me she thought Ritchie was crazy.”

Court documents state that Ritchie’s criminal history includes a conviction for carrying a firearm and driving without a license. He has a court appearance at the end of the month in King County for charges of malicious mischief and intimidating a witness.

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