A 29-year-old man accused of having sex with a then-14-year-old girl in 2005 has been sentenced for fourth-degree assault.
Peter C. Morrill, formerly of Montesano, was sentenced Monday in Grays Harbor Superior Court to 30 days of community service. The rest of his 364 day sentence is suspended.
“Often offenders come before the court and promise that they will turn their lives around,” Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Katie Svoboda wrote in her sentencing statement. “In this case, the defendant can show the court proof that he has done so.”
Morrill is accused of having sex with the teen in a Central Park home. After that, according to court documents, he joined the Navy and moved around the country for several years. He started his college degree while still enlisted, and has been a full-time student since his honorable discharge.
Svoboda said the victim does not want to pursue charges and was “surprised this matter is still pending.” The original charge of third-degree rape of a child was reduced as part of a plea agreement.
Erik Kupka, Morrill’s attorney, said Morrill talked with his superior officers about the charges back when a warrant was first issued, but was ordered not to come home and address the issue. He was arrested in a warrant sweep earlier this year.
“It was a huge moral dilemma for me to continue my military obligation, or to return to take care of the problem I had caused,” Morrill told Judge Gordon Godfrey.
“This just establishes what I thought when I was in the Navy,” Godfrey said. “Those officers didn’t know what they were talking about, either. … Don’t screw up again, sailor.”
Brionna Friedrich: 360-537-3933 or firstname.lastname@example.org and @DW_Brionna on Twitter.