WALLA WALLA -- A man received a suspended prison term Monday afternoon, but was sentenced to a jail stint and sex-offender treatment for having multiple sexual encounters with an underage girl last year.
Frank J. Avbel, 24, of 306 Craig St., was sentenced to serve six months in the Walla Walla County Jail, then undergo three to four years of outpatient treatment under community custody, a form of probation.
If he fails to complete treatment and comply with various conditions, he will be sent to prison for the balance of his suspended sentence, which was set at 46-60 months.
He also will have to register as a sex offender.
The sentence imposed by Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht is an alternative to the prison term Avbel faced.
Avbel pleaded guilty Jan. 31 to three counts of third-degree rape of a child for having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl on three occasions in September.
In handing down the sentence, Schacht went along with a defense request for the alternative that carries a maximum jail sentence of a year rather than a prison term and mandates sex-offender treatment. A counselor's evaluation determined that Avbel appears to be amenable to treatment in that his sexual behavior was more opportunistic that predatory.
At his sentencing hearing, Avbel apologized to his victim, his parents and the community. "I am not attracted to underage girls," he told Schacht. "What I did was an act of immaturity."
The prosecution did not oppose the alternative sentence.
Avbel was arrested Nov. 11, but bail was posted later and he was released pending the outcome of his case. He was returned to jail after he pleaded guilty. Schacht gave him credit for the 67 days he's served.
Avbel's brother, Allan F. Avbel, 23, also was arrested in November. He entered a guilty plea Feb. 14 to one count of third-degree rape of a child for having sexual intercourse with a different 14-year-old girl on Oct. 24. He also pleaded guilty to furnishing liquor to minors and is awaiting sentencing.
Police said they began their investigation in the early morning hours of Oct. 24 after receiving a report from the mother of Allan Avbel's victim. The girl had been attending a party at the Avbels' home when Allan Avbel had sex with her in his upstairs bedroom.
Several teenage girls reportedly had been participating in drinking games at the residence that morning, with alcohol supplied by the Avbels.
During the course of the investigation, officials learned that Frank Avbel had sex with his victim about 30 times in past weeks, according to a police report. Most of the encounters occurred at the Avbels' home.
The residence was known to authorities as a "party house" and had been the location of multiple complaints. Police said they had responded to the house at least 16 times since 2009 for calls consisting of assaults, burglaries, domestic problems, liquor violations and other disturbances.
The Avbels' parents own the residence, but reportedly are gone often.
Allan Avbel faces a standard-range prison term of a year-and-a-day to 14 months when he's sentenced, but could receive a jail term and mandated treatment under the sentencing alternative.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.