Former Orcas Island 21-year-old pleads guilty to rape

A 21-year-old Kirkland man faces up to five years in prison on two separate sex crimes after admitting that he raped two teenage girls in the haze of a late-night alcohol-fueled party in Eastsound a year ago in mid-October.

On Nov. 18, Peter John Anderson pleaded guilty in San Juan County Superior Court to two counts of third-degree rape, a Class C felony. Anderson, who will be required to register as a sex offender as a result of the conviction, is slated to be sentenced on Feb. 28.

According to court documents, prosecutors accused Anderson of forcing himself upon two 15-year-old girls and of sexually assaulting each at separate times on the same night. In addition to being under the age of consent, both girls reportedly were incapacitated by a combination of alcohol and marijuana at the time each was sexually assaulted.

Anderson, then 20 years old, was four years older than both victims at the time.

In addition to two counts of third-degree rape, Anderson was initially charged in mid-June with two counts of third-degree rape of child, as an alternative course of prosecution. A Class A felony, third-degree rape of child carries maximum penalties of life in prison, a $50,000 fine, or both.

Anderson, who initially denied the charges and had been slated to stand trial in late August, pleaded guilty this week to each of the two lesser felony sex crimes. A Class C felony, third-degree rape carries maximum penalties of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both; however, the standard range of sentencing set by the state is 15-20 months.

While the felony conviction stands as a first for the Kirkland man, it is not the first time the 21-year-old has been prosecuted in local court for an alleged sex crime.

In June 2010, Anderson, then 18, was charged with second-degree rape for an alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl. The case was dismissed six months later after the girl, reportedly fearful of the potential of confrontational court proceedings, opted against taking the witness stand to testify at trial.

As with the 2010 case, Anderson is represented by attorney Charles Arndt of the Coupeville-based law firm of Arndt and Walker. Arndt is a former San Juan County public defender.

— Scott Rasmussen


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