CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Guilty plea in rape case

Criminal cases often take many months to work their way through the legal system. In recent months we’ve received multiple inquiries about one case in particular, the rape charge filed in April 2020 against then-18-year-old Jackson U. Sullivan. He was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl who was incapable of consent, “intoxicated to the point of loss of motor functions … (during) what should have been an enjoyable high-school party” in November 2019. Both were West Seattle High School students at the time. As with many cases, there have been routine status hearings during those months. A notation appeared in the online case file recently, saying that a plea agreement was expected. We checked back on the case tonight and learned that Sullivan, now 19, pleaded guilty Thursday to a reduced charge, third-degree rape; the original charge was second-degree rape. The standard sentencing range is six months to a year; case documents say prosecutors are recommending a nine-month sentence. Sullivan has been out on bond since spending four hours in jail shortly after he was charged last year. His sentencing is scheduled before King County Superior Court Judge Josephine Wiggs-Martin on August 6th.

33 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Guilty plea in rape case"

  • flimflam July 23, 2021 (9:35 pm)

    Those sentencing standards seem woefully lenient.

    • Bill July 23, 2021 (10:03 pm)

      Yeah, that is problematic. Who wrote these and when?

      • Carole July 24, 2021 (10:13 am)

        Sentencing guidelines are set  by the Legislature.  Judges are bound by them. Write to Olympia.

    • Joe Jamail July 24, 2021 (12:39 am)

      That’s how plea deals work on these types of cases. Prosecutors want guilty pleas with as little work as possible, so they offer something like this and then punish the defendant if they don’t take it. So let’s say this kid is actually innocent. He has a choice between taking the plea and getting a year or running the risk that the jurors get it wrong and spending 20 years in prison. It’s a no brainer for him. It’s a risk analysis. You see it all the time where defendants who believe they are innocent plead guilty because the risk is to great otherwise. He has to take the plea even if he truly believes he is innocent. The whole system is set up to motivate defendants to plea regardless of the evidence. This is not a defense of him…just a recognition of how things work. He also has to live with sex offender status for a long time, which will make his life incredibly difficult, so he’ll pay beyond just the sentencing.

      • Blbl July 24, 2021 (8:28 am)

        Joe, your post is twisted and offensive and a slap in the face to the 16 year old girl this man raped. She has to live with this her whole life. 

        • Jen July 24, 2021 (10:26 am)

          You should probably take your offense up with the system instead of the people that speak truth about how it works. Gross. 

        • isThisABazaar July 26, 2021 (3:26 pm)

          You need to watch “The Good Wife”, this is where I was shocked to learn about the farcical plea bargain.

      • wscommuter July 24, 2021 (12:10 pm)

        Joe Jamail.  Your ignorance is breathtaking.  Hard  to find words to respond to such a  stupid comment.   Ditto to Jen.  Unless either of you can provide some specific, you know, facts  to back up your ignorant crap, I suggest you  keep your stupidity to yourselves.   Offensive to this poor  girl and offensive to  the prosecutors who work hard on these very difficult cases.  Just … wow.  Unbelievable.  

        • Father of a Girl July 24, 2021 (2:30 pm)

          ….. is it possible he plead guilty because he is guilty? That’s my guess based on the other young ladies who came forward and the pattern of his behavior at other high school parties, supplying alcohol, and use if his van. I hope this young lady gets some form of comfort in the guilty plea. From what I understand, she does not want to destroy this boy’s life. She wants him to get counseling and make sure this never happens again. She is a brave young lady and my heart goes out to her. Kudos to her for coming forward and seeking justice and her desire to protect other young women. 

        • Joe Jamail July 24, 2021 (4:12 pm)

          It’s not commentary on his guilt or innocence. It was just a criticism of the plea bargain process, from the other perspective. I was just using the scenario of his innocence as an example, not saying he actually is. But it is a risk analysis, whether you like it or not. If he thinks he is innocent (and I don’t know if that is the case), he has two choices: 1) take the deal for 6-9 months; or 2) risk a jury full of folks like many commenters who called him guilty long before there was even a trial…and get 20 years. I don’t think that’s the way a justice system should work. Regardless, I absolutely hope the families affected by this find some kind of much deserved peace. No one should have to go through this.

          • NotOnHolden July 24, 2021 (6:42 pm)

            Anyone else actually know the name Joe Jamail?  I do.  Anyway, this poster had a point.  This isn’t about saying the person is guilty or not; these are the cold hard truths of how our justice system “works”

          • Blbl July 24, 2021 (9:19 pm)

            You don’t need to add the “or not” after guilty. The rapist himself said he was guilty.  Unfortunately, privileged men convicted of rape are apparently innocent even after proven guilty. 

          • Joe Jamail July 25, 2021 (12:13 am)

            It’s a nuanced criticism of our justice system that, with certain crimes, nobody wants to hear. But that’s also the point. It’s also not a privilege issue. The plea bargain system disproportionately impacts minorities. This is a great, eye-opening read for anyone interested in learning more about the criticisms of the plea bargain.

  • mok4315 July 23, 2021 (10:19 pm)

    Wow. Nine freaking months for rape. I have no words. 

  • AN July 23, 2021 (10:25 pm)

    Six months to a year?!? For RAPE? Beyond repulsive. Karma is coming for this mofo, this I know.

  • Insertname July 23, 2021 (11:50 pm)

    Hmm. That seems to be a very light sentence; regardless of what degree of rape was committed. Does this mean that Jackson U. Sullivan will also have to register as a sex offender, and have a felony charge on his permanent record?  

    • West Sea July 24, 2021 (2:12 pm)

      According to my research, 3rd degree rape is a class C felony. This means that Jackson will only have to register as a sex offender for 10 years. I believe the 10 year period begins after his release from prison. (Note that I do not have law expertise in Washington State, if anyone is more knowledgeable on the topic please chime in.)

  • Alki resident July 24, 2021 (9:12 am)

    My ex served ten months for domestic violence. Our system is a joke. 

  • bolo July 24, 2021 (9:47 am)

    Joke yes. Eerily similar events are apparently not a barrier to employment at the nation’s Supreme Court.

  • Manolita July 24, 2021 (9:51 am)

    Our justice system is broken. Rapist Jackson Sullivan pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and will get lightly sentenced next month. His victim, then 16, will endure the trauma for a lifetime. There were other victims that chose not to press charges. I know them and have heard the reasons they decided not to file. The road to seek justice for sexual crimes is painful and heartbreaking. The investigations, depositions, medical and forensic testing are a nightmare the victim and family experience over and over again. At the end there is no justice or little justice. Parents: talk to your daughters. Even if they are going to brush it off or get mad because they know better than you. Young women are vulnerable and must be empowered to take care of themselves and be safe when we are not there to protect them.And talk to your sons too: teach them to be respectful, to know about consent and boundaries. Keep an eye on the way they engage with women and guide them to become real men.

    • cjboffoli July 24, 2021 (1:01 pm)

      Well, to to be fair, the justice system is only one component of what’s broken here. Our culture and parenting is broken too when young men turn into predators when they encounter someone in a vulnerable position. Why can’t we raise men whose first instinct is to assist and take care of a passed out woman, as opposed to thinking only of their own sexual and power gratification?

      • Tom July 24, 2021 (7:19 pm)

        Sometimes, good parents raise kids that make terrible mistakes. I’m not sure it’s fair to blame them.

  • Guy July 24, 2021 (10:01 am)

    He was 18 and the victim was 16 at the time of the attack. Apparently he has been accused of other attacks. I was hoping he was locked up for a decade at least. What a sad joke of sentencing. 

  • Alex July 24, 2021 (10:30 am)

    As I recall the story, this was a house party where minors were drinking.  It was unclear where the home owners were.   It’s a gross misdemeanor in this state to serve alcohol to minors and can come with a big fine and some jail time.   It sounds like everyone got off pretty easy here except for the victim and her family.    

    • Admiral Mom July 24, 2021 (12:54 pm)

      Yes. A house party at a single parent household who was out of town. Police came by to check it out a couple of hours prior to the crime. Jackson was seen playing beer pong with other students (boys and girls but not sure if the victim was one of them). He did this to a 16 years old child when he was already an adult.Things get fixed easily. He transferred and graduated from Ballard High School. There’s no justice in my opinion.

      • NotOnHolden July 24, 2021 (6:44 pm)

        Any word on why police showed up to a party with minors drinking and didn’t do anything?  Not that it changes that this person may have done this more than once, but I’m curious about what happened with this party and the police not doing anything about it that night?

        • Admiral Mom July 25, 2021 (10:27 pm)

          There was a scuffle. A girl called the police because someone punched her boyfriend. Police came but did not disípate the crowd. 

  • believe women July 24, 2021 (10:53 am)

    The sad reality is, there are far more rapes than men being brought to justice for them. The majority of  rape and other sex crimes go unreported, and happen to younger women. Often when ladies speak up, they are questioned, treated skeptically, and sometimes not believed, and the incident is swept under a heavy rug of victim blame and shame.

    Believe girls and women. The number of sex abuse victims among us is probably shocking.

  • West seattle teen July 24, 2021 (5:37 pm)

    I went to school with this young man. His behavior not only this night but on multiple occasions is disgusting and unacceptable. There have been SO many girls that have come forward about him and his actions. For him to be able to transfer and graduate from a neighboring high school is absolutely disgusting and disappointing. These poor girls have to live with the thought of him getting a year or less in jail for a lifetime of trauma. Not just one girl, MULTIPLE girls he has violated. He is a disgusting human and I would like for him to sit in jail MUCH longer then a year like he deserves. 

  • Pessoa July 24, 2021 (6:04 pm)

    Be careful about painting with too broad of a brush;  the overwhelming majority of men would recoil at the thought of taking advantage of a vulnerable young woman.  

    • Bill July 25, 2021 (12:34 am)

      Ahh, but would they speak up when they hear “locker room talk”, see this type of behavior, etc?also curious if you’ve surveyed “the overwhelming majority of men” or if that’s another broad brush?

      • Pessoa July 25, 2021 (11:26 am)

        The subject is sexual assault, Bill, not lewd behavior.  I thought this should have been apparent from the title: “Guilty plea in rape case.”        

    • rme July 25, 2021 (12:53 pm)

      The number of men who assaulted me or facilitated others assaulting me when I was a minor is quite disturbing. So anecdotally, I’d have to disagree that the “majority of men would recoil.” 

Sorry, comment time is over.