Prosecutor: Teen should get adult charges for beating 7-year-old girl

PUYALLUP, Wash. - Pierce County prosecutors will request that the 14-year-old boy accused of beating and sexually assaulting a 7-year-old Puyallup girl be charged as an adult.

The boy, currently being held in juvenile detention, was officially charged with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree child rape, first-degree rape, and first-degree kidnapping Tuesday. Prosecutors will make the formal request in juvenile court later Tuesday afternoon for the boy to be prosecuted as an adult and the case to be tried in superior court. The judge will decide whether to accept the request at a later date.

Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said his decision was based on the safety of the community.

"Rarely do we ask the court to treat a 14-year-old offender as an adult," Lindquist said. "But this is one of those few cases where the severity of the offense and the safety of our community call out for adult-sized accountability."

Police officers found the girl choked, partially undressed and unable to walk in a heavily wooded area behind her apartment complex early Thursday morning, but she was able to give police enough information to arrest a 14-year-old neighbor boy.

Investigators say the girl likely spent hours injured in the woods after the attack, discovered about four hours after she was reported missing from the Glenbrooke apartment community Wednesday night. She was rushed to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma in serious condition but has since improved to satisfactory condition and moved out of the pediatric intensive care unit, hospital spokeswoman Marce Edwards said.

When police contacted the teen, he initially denied any involvement but then admitted he took the girl into a wooded area, but she got a bloody nose so he left, according to court documents. He then told detectives the girl annoyed him and he hoped she would get lost, and then asked her to go walk down the trail to look at a bird nest.

The teen said the girl kicked him, so he went into a "rage" and punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground, documents said. When the girl began screaming for help, the teen realized with her injuries, he was going to get in trouble so he "had to get rid of her so she couldn't tell anyone," according to prosecutors.

So the teen grabbed the girl, took her deeper into the woods, and squeezed her throat until she passed out, detectives wrote.

During the interview with detectives, the teen repeatedly denied sexual assaulting the girl, but detectives said doctors found evidence of a sexual assault when the girl was examined at the hospital.

If the boy was convicted in juvenile court, he would face a sentence of 6 1/2 years in detention, while a conviction on adult charges could carry a 30-year prison sentence.