Sweeney pleads guilty to rape charge

A former Port Orchard man charged with luring teens to his home to make sexually explicit videos pleaded guilty last week to four felonies, including one count of rape of a child in the third degree, according to the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office.

Charles Patrick Sweeney II, 26, who was arrested in May after child pornography was reportedly discovered on his home computer, was scheduled to begin his trial this week before entering guilty pleas on Thursday in Kitsap County Superior Court.

Deputy Prosecutor Neil Wachter said Sweeney pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of rape of a child in the third degree, and one count of possession of child pornography.

According to Port Orchard Police officer Stan James, officers obtained a search warrant for Sweeney’s former residence in Port Orchard three months ago after a computer repair technician allegedly discovered pornographic images of children on Sweeney’s personal computer and reported it to authorities, as required by state law.

James said when officers searched Sweeney’s house they discovered more evidence, including videotapes the suspect allegedly made of minors engaging in sex acts.

In the weeks that followed, police identified several more potential victims ranging in age from 14 to 17 years old at the time of the crimes, including an 18-year-old woman whose parents contacted him after reading a news story about Sweeney.

During his investigation, James said he learned Sweeney reportedly frequented several local teen hangouts, including the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale, the Roxy Theatre in Bremerton and The Cove, a since-closed teen center near the South Kitsap Mall, where he allegedly passed himself off as 18 to meet and befriend young girls.

A 16-year-old Bremerton resident said when she met Sweeney at a concert, he made her feel like she was “the only girl.”

“He was a real smooth talker,” said the girl, whose identity is not being revealed due to her age. “He’s just really good at it. He just knew how to make you feel special.”

Although she said she was not technically a victim of one of Sweeney’s crimes, she claims she could easily have been and was “very happy he was arrested, and I hope he gets sent to jail for a long time,” she said. “He’s dirty.”

Sweeney will be sentenced Oct. 4. Wachter said his standard sentencing range is seven to nine and a half years, and he will be recommending the minimum amount.

“The state has an interest in resolving the case (in such a way) that does not put his victims through the trauma of a trial,” Wachter said.

However, Wachter said Sweeney’s defense attorney will argue that a Special Sexual Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA) is appropriate for his client.

For defendants who qualify, a SSOSA suspends the prison sentence in lieu of treatment. Since Sweeney is a first-time sex offender, his conviction does not involve a serious violent offense and his penalty would be less than 11 years, Wachter said he does qualify.

“If the court grants it, all but six months would be suspended,” he said, explaining that Sweeney would then be required to go through intensive treatment for three years. “If he fails to complete it, or contacts the victims or commits new crimes, (the special sentence) will be revoked and he will serve the remaining time.”

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