A former Fort Lewis soldier could spend more than two years in prison after convictions for child rape and furnishing liquor to a minor stemming from a December 2008 incident in Pacific County.
Here’s the press release:
Ft. Lewis Soldier Convicted of Rape of a Child in the Third Degree and Furnishing Liquor to a Minor.
After a three-day jury trial which ended on Wednesday, March 31, 2010, former Army enlisted man William N. Valdiviez, of Houston, Texas, was convicted of one count of Rape of a Child in the Third Degree and one count of Furnishing Liquor to a Minor, in the Pacific County Superior Court.
In December, 2008, Mr. Valdiviez, then 25 years of age, who was in the U.S. Army at the time, was vacationing with family members at the Surfside Inn in Ocean Park, Washington. His grandparents had flown in from Texas along with three of his cousins, including the victim in the case, age 14. The purpose of the trip was for the family to visit with William, who was stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington; to celebrate the holidays; and also to celebrate the victim’s 15th birthday. She was to turn 15 on December 25, 2008. Mr. Valdiviez’s girlfriend from Tacoma, Washington, was also in Pacific County for the vacation, as was Mr. Validiviez’s mother, his step-father, and his half-sister.
On the evening of December 24th and into the early morning hours of December 25th, Mr. Validiviez furnished alcohol to his young female cousin. She shared a hotel suite with William and his girlfriend, while other family members stayed in separate suites. After consuming several rounds of drinks, an argument broke out between the defendant and his girlfriend. Mr. Valdiviez and the named victim left the hotel room, and went for a drive down to the beach, leaving Mr. Validiviez’s girlfriend behind in the hotel room. It was while Mr. Valdiviez and his 15-year-old cousin were parked down by the beach that the rape occurred.
At trial, the victim testified about the incident along with Deputy Jacobson, of the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office, who had interviewed the defendant in March, 2009, at Ft. Lewis. Deputy Jacobson testified that the defendant had admitted engaging in sexual intercourse with his cousin, but that he had stopped before completing the act because he knew it was wrong. When asked why he thought it was wrong, Mr. Valdiviez told Deputy Jacobson that it was wrong “because she’s my cousin and because she was only 15.”
Mr. Valdiviez was represented by Lance Hester of the Hester Law Group of Tacoma. At trial, Mr. Valdiviez admitted to the sexual contact, but claimed the affirmative defense that he reasonably relied on the victim’s declarations that she was 16. Mr. Valdiviez had never mentioned to the police, prior to trial, that his cousin had represented herself to be 16.
The jury found Mr. Validiviez guilty of both counts after deliberating approximately one hour.
The case has been tentatively set for sentencing on May 14, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. He is looking at possible maximum sentence of 365 days in jail on the charge of Furnishing Liquor to a Minor, and a standard range of 12 to 14 months on the rape charge. The judge has full discretion to order the two sentences to run concurrently or consecutively.