Sailor sentenced to 26 years for raping teens

A 36-year-old South Kitsap man was sentenced to 318 months in prison this month after pleading guilty to charges that he repeatedly raped two teen-aged family members.

James Gregory Kerr, formerly a U.S. Navy sailor stationed at SuBase Bangor, pleaded guilty to four counts of child rape, two in the first-degree and two in the second-degree.

Each count of first-degree rape not only carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, but included special allegations — that Kerr violated a position of trust and displayed an ongoing pattern of abuse in committing the acts — which could have led to an exceptional sentence.

Kerr was accused of raping one of the victims, a female, repeatedly from the time she reached the third-grade. He also reportedly started assaulting a male victim in August of last year.

On Sept. 5, Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Leila Mills sentenced Kerr to the punishment recommended by Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Montgomery once the defendant agreed to plead guilty — 318 months, or 26.5 years, in prison.

Prior to his sentencing, numerous family members of Kerr, including the two victims, submitted letters pleading that the 18-year Navy veteran receive treatment instead of a lengthy prison sentence.

“I don’t want (Kerr) to go to jail; I feel I destroyed his life for something that could be fixed,” wrote one victim, while the second victim stated: “I would be devastated if (Kerr) went to prison, and it would be less upsetting if he got help. I miss and love him.”

Kerr was arrested Nov. 7 after the female victim told a school counselor that she was being abused. As is required by law, the employee then contacted the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, according to spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson.

Once his office was notified, Wilson said investigators moved quickly to gather evidence and arrested the suspect the same day at his residence.

According to the arresting deputies, Kerr admitted to the abuse, and also admitted to videotaping and photographing the sexual assaults.

At his arraignment, Prosecutor Montgomery requested a high bail, stating that “the facts of this case show a pattern of horrible abuse.”

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