SOUTH BEND - A Houston, Texas, man who was convicted by a jury in March of rape of a child and furnishing liquor to a minor was sentenced Friday in Pacific County Superior Court.
Although the victim, her father and the Pacific County Prosecutor's Office had asked Judge Michael Sullivan to impose the maximum penalty of 26 months in prison on William N. Valdiviez, Sullivan sentenced him to 14 months, according to Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Bustamante.
"The state had asked for total of 20 months incarceration, and the defense had recommended a year and a day," Bustamante said. The sentence included 13 months on the third-degree rape of a child count and one month on the furnishing liquor to a minor charge.
Valdiviez, who was stationed at Fort Lewis with the U.S. Army, was vacationing with family and friends in December 2008 in Surfside. The victim, Valdiviez's cousin, who was 14 at the time, had joined cousins and grandparents at the Surfside Inn to celebrate the holiday. Valdiviez's girlfriend from Tacoma was also in Pacific County for the vacation, as was Valdiviez's mother, stepfather and his half-sister. Also being celebrated was the victim's 15th birthday on Christmas Day.
Bustamante said that on the evening of Dec. 24 and into the morning of Dec. 25, Valdiviez furnished alcohol to his cousin. She shared a hotel suite with Valdiviez and his girlfriend. After consuming several rounds of drinks, an argument broke out between the defendant and his girlfriend. Valdiviez and the victim left the hotel room and went for a drive down to the beach, leaving Valdiviez's girlfriend in the hotel room. It was while Valdiviez and his cousin were parked near the beach that the rape occurred.
At trial, the victim testified about the incident along with Pacific County Sheriff's Office Deputy Paul Jacobson, who had interviewed the defendant in March 2009 at Fort Lewis. Jacobson testified that the defendant had admitted engaging in sexual intercourse with his cousin, but that he stopped because he knew it was wrong. When asked why he thought it was wrong, Valdiviez told Jacobson that it was wrong "because she's my cousin and because she was only 15."
During the trial, Bustamante said Valdiviez admitted to the sexual contact, but claimed that he had relied on the victim's declarations that she was 16. Valdiviez had never mentioned to the police, prior to trial, that his cousin had represented herself to be 16.