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Whidbey teen accused of child rape

An 18-year-old Oak Harbor student accused of child rape is being tried as an adult even though he committed the alleged crime when he was just 14.

Colleen Kenimond, the Island County chief criminal prosecutor, explained that the student must be tried as an adult under state law because the victim didn’t disclose the crime until the defendant was 18 years old.

Kenimond charged the young man in Island County Superior Court Aug. 12 with rape of a child in the first degree. He pleaded not guilty Aug. 25.

Oak Harbor Police Detective Mike Bailey investigated the case in April after a 12-year-old boy told a school counselor that he was afraid he might have AIDS. The boy said the suspect — a teenaged neighbor and friend of the family — forced him to perform a sex act four years ago, Bailey wrote.

Kenimond said she is negotiating with the defense attorney and she’s hopeful that they can come to a resolution that’s both fair and just. She said the defendant qualifies for a special program that emphasizes treatment over prison time, but she wouldn’t recommend it unless the victim and the victim’s family agree.

“It’s a policy of our office,” she said.

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