A 31-year-old Navy sailor is accused of raping a teenage boy he met on a dating app, according to court documents.
Ernie M. Chavez Jr. appeared in Island County Superior Court Tuesday. Judge Vickie Churchill ruled that there was probable cause to believe Chavez committed the crimes of rape of a child and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.
Churchill set Chavez’s bail at $50,000, based on the recommendation of Chief Criminal Prosecutor Eric Ohme. If Chavez makes bail, he must live in barracks on the Navy base, the judge said.
The Island County Jail roster indicates Chavez was released on bail Wednesday. Under the conditions of his release, he is not allowed to go places where children congregate, which includes fast food restaurants.
Prosecutors charged Chavez in Island County Superior Court July 25 with rape of a child in the third degree and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. If convicted of the charges against him, he could face from 26 to 34 months in prison under the standard sentencing range.
The attorneys said Chavez has no criminal history and has been in the Navy for 11 years, including four on Whidbey Island.
According to the police report, the 14-year-old boy said he met Chavez through the dating app Grinder. Chavez came to the boy’s North Whidbey home Monday night and the two of them entered an RV on the property. The boy said he realized what he was doing was a bad idea and tried to end it, but Chavez refused and raped him, the police report states.
The boy’s father said he saw his son and Chavez exiting the RV. He tried to ask Chavez why he was on his property but Chavez didn’t answer and tried the get into his car. After the teenager said he had been raped, a neighbor detained Chavez until police arrived, the report states.