WALLA WALLA -- A 19-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to serve at least 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting two underage girls he had just met at his residence in the Eastgate area New Year's Day.
Phillip S. Ingram -- who pleaded guilty in June to second-degree rape of a child and third-degree child molestation -- faces a maximum of life.
Although Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann set the decade-long, minimum term Thursday, the state's Indeterminate Sentence Review Board will later decide when Ingram actually will be released.
Ingram's minimum term is near the midpoint of the state's standard range of 81/2 to 111/3 years for the crimes. He was given credit for 74 days he's served in the County Jail. He was placed on community custody for life.
Ingram's attorney, Jim Barrett, argued for an alternative sentence, in which Ingram -- who has no criminal history -- would spend up to a year in the County Jail, then undergo outpatient sex-offender treatment. Barrett pointed to a report by clinical psychologist Ronald Page, who determined that Ingram is amenable to such treatment and his crimes were opportunistic rather than predatory to a significant degree.
The community doesn't need protection from Ingram, Barrett maintained. "There is a tremendous amount of emotion running around this case, which is not what (the sentencing alternative) is about," he said.
But Lohrmann agreed with the state Department of Corrections, which determined in a presentence investigation report that Ingram doesn't qualify for an alternative sentence under state law, partly because he hasn't fully admitted he committed the crimes.
The assaults occurred at Ingram's apartment at 150 S. Wilbur Ave., where he lived Jan. 1. Ingram, then 18, had sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl and sexual contact with a 14-year-old after what police described as an "alcohol-fueled" New Year's Eve party also attended by other teens.
Officials were contacted Jan. 3 after the 14-year-old told her mother. Ingram was arrested Jan. 7 following an interview by a police detective and was booked into the County Jail. He was released Jan. 11 to live at 62 Talon Loop pending further court proceedings, but was led back to jail after his guilty pleas June 27.
Before Lohrmann imposed the sentence Thursday, Ingram acknowledged his actions have affected a lot of people. "This will never happen again," Ingram said.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden had agreed when Ingram pleaded guilty to recommend the alternative sentence if Ingram was found amenable to treatment. But Golden told Lohrmann on Thursday that based on information included in the presentence investigation submitted by DOC Community Corrections Officer Alison Smith, Ingram has taken "absolutely no responsibility in this case."
"Dr. Page says, yes, he's amenable," Golden added. "But if you look at everything else, it seems to fly in the face ..."
Smith's report, based on an interview with Ingram, documents his lack of accountability and his claims of innocence.
In part, the report states: "Ingram absolutely does NOT see any portion of this process as 'fair.' He denies doing anything wrong, claiming it is the girls' fault for acting and looking so old, and being out. He is angry at the idea of being on supervision much less incarcerated, but particularly annoyed about having to register as a sex offender."
Smith's report adds that Ingram hadn't met either victim before the offenses occurred, both victims say he was informed of their ages, and they and their families "are very strongly opposed" to the sentencing alternative.
Neither victim attended Thursday's sentencing hearing, but one of fathers in the courtroom told Lohrmann his daughter's life has been severely affected.
Lohrmann emphasized the girls are not to blame. "It's not the victims' fault in this case in any way, shape or form," he said, urging the families to try to move forward with their lives as best they can.
And he told Ingram:
"Continue to battle any demons you have."
Terry McConn can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8319.