News

Okanogan teen who raped 8-year-old girl tied to other sex crimes

OKANOGAN - A middle school student who raped an 8-year-old girl in May had been arrested and released three times, and was awaiting trial for other child rape and molestation charges when he committed the crime.

John D. Zumwalt, 15, was sentenced Tuesday to more than 13 years in custody after pleading guilty to first-degree rape of a child. A judge agreed last month to move the case from juvenile to Okanogan County Superior Court.

Zumwalt raped the girl on May 25, while separate charges of first-degree rape of a child, first-degree child molestation and first-degree animal cruelty-sexual conduct were pending in Okanogan County Juvenile Court, according to a court document. The document ó a motion by Okanogan County Deputy Prosecutor Felecia Chandler to move the second rape case to Okanogan County Superior Court ó states the prosecutor's office had previously opposed his release from juvenile detention "due to an extreme concern for public safety" after he was charged but not yet convicted of rape, molestation and animal cruelty.

Court records show Zumwalt was arrested and booked into the Okanogan County Juvenile Detention Center three times in the previous year, and released by Juvenile Court Judge Dave Edwards on Dec. 16, 2009, and again on Feb. 5, 2010. He was released a third time by Judge Pro Tem Owen Gardner on April 7.

Zumwalt pleaded guilty in Juvenile Court to all three of those charges on Sept. 15, and was sentenced to a maximum of 54 weeks in a state juvenile rehabilitation facility. The most recent sentence of 13 years and four months will be added to the prior sentence, Chandler said.

Chandler declined to talk about details of the juvenile cases.

Okanogan Middle School Principal Brett Baum said Zumwalt hasn't attended the middle school since his arrest on May 27 for the second rape. Baum said Zumwalt did attend the school after he was released following the first offense.

"When he was released, I believe we did get a message to the prosecutor's office to see if there was any reason why we should not allow him in school, and we were told, 'No,'" he said. The school could not suspend or expel him because incidents did not occur on school grounds, he said.

According to a report by Okanogan County Sheriff's Detective Mike Murray filed with charges for the second rape, the victim told a nurse that this was not the first time Zumwalt had done something to her.

She told Murray in an interview the day after the May 25 rape that she and Zumwalt were riding their bikes and went to an old house, where he tied her up, put a sock in (her) mouth and told her not to look at him while he "peed," the report stated. She also told him that Zumwalt would not let her go.

Murray wrote that he and other deputies searched the abandoned residence on B&O Road, and in the bedroom they found evidence including a knife, a piece of cut rope, pornographic magazines and several socks.

Zumwalt later admitted to the rape, Murray's report said.

Chandler argued to have the second rape case moved to adult court due to the seriousness and violence of the crime, and because a conviction in juvenile court would have resulted in a maximum of 129 weeks of juvenile detention. She noted in her argument that the state Department of Corrections does not place juvenile offenders in adult populations even when they are tried as adults.

  Comments