News and Press Releases

Man with Long History of Sexual Assault Raped Ex-Girlfriend in Front of 2-year-old

June 19, 2008

ZACHARY CHRISTENSEN, 24, of Taholah, Washington, an enrolled member of the Quinault Tribe, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 70 months in prison and ten years of supervised release for Aggravated Sexual Abuse. CHRISTENSEN attacked his ex-girlfriend on December 23, 2005, when she had brought their two-year-old daughter to his home for a visit for the Christmas holidays. CHRISTENSEN had previously been investigated three times for sexual assault of other young girls, and had been convicted in tribal court of Harassment against the victim in this case. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said, “A sexual assault of this nature results in an injury that is never fully healed. The victim in this case... continues to suffer... and it’s interfered with her ability to enjoy everyday life.”

According to records filed in the case, CHRISTENSEN requested that his ex-girlfriend bring their 2-year-old child to his house for a visit, as he was not allowed in the victim’s home (since she lives with her parents). CHRISTENSEN picked up the victim and her daughter and drove them to his house, where he raped the victim in front of the 2-year-old child despite the victim’s efforts to fight him off. The victim is traumatized by the assault and worries about the impact the crime has on her 2-year-old daughter.

On March 11, 2008, CHRISTENSEN agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence between 34 and 70 months in prison, with a mandatory ten years of supervised release during which the court will monitor his sexual deviancy treatment and drug and alcohol treatment. CHRISTENSEN will also be required to register as a sex offender.

In asking for the significant sentence, federal prosecutors pointed to CHRISTENSEN’s long history of being investigated for sexual assault. “Defendant has long been a thorn in the side of the Quinault community. His repeated acts and words of violence against females and his inability to recover from his addictions have rendered him a menace. It is unusual for this Court to be presented with a Defendant who has so many prior allegations of sexual abuse. Defendant’s long history of abusive behavior is more than just a red flag – it is a warning siren that Defendant is a danger to the community and cannot be trusted to treat females with even the most basic dignity. Defendant is plainly an unrehabilitated sex offender,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

Judge Settle noted that the victim in this case is “not the only victim... You have victimized your community. Your daughter is also a victim.... She now has been exposed at a very young age to a trauma.”

The case was investigated by the Quinault Tribal Police and the FBI.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jill Otake and Roger Rogoff.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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