Man pleads guilty to raping woman in 2011

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WALLA WALLA — A man pleaded guilty Monday afternoon in Superior Court to a rape charge accusing him of having sex with a female acquaintance at a local residence last year without her consent.

Donald R. Lackey Jr., 45, entered the guilty plea to the reduced charge of third-degree rape.

He didn’t admit committing the crime, but agreed the prosecution has evidence that likely could convict him if the case had gone to trial.

Officials said Lackey pulled the back of the woman’s hair, dragged her into a bedroom, pushed her face down onto the bed and raped her about 6 p.m. on Aug. 24, 2011.

She later was taken to Walla Walla General Hospital, where medical personnel saw evidence of sexual assault, according to a police report filed in court.

Lackey was located downtown that evening and arrested. In an interview with police, he reportedly claimed he and the woman had engaged in consensual sex.

Lackey faces a standard-range jail term of six months to a year when he’s sentenced later.

The prosecution is recommending a time-served sentence in exchange for his guilty plea. Lackey is not in custody and is living at the Christian Aid Center with court-ordered conditions, but previously served about eight months in the County Jail awaiting the outcome of his case.

He will be subject to three years of community custody, a form of probation, when he’s sentenced and will have to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Mulhern said in an interview she agreed to reduce the charge from second-degree rape — which accused Lackey of forcibly having sex with the victim — “to ensure the defendant had consequences and the victim didn’t have to go through a trial,” which would be “very, very difficult for her.”

Mulhern added that the victim is in agreement with the reduction of the charge.

Had Lackey been convicted at a trial of the more-serious second-degree rape charge, he would have faced a minimum of nearly eight years in prison. His attorney, Julie Brown, said in court Monday that Lackey didn’t want to take the chance of being convicted of that, so agreed to accept Mulhern’s plea offer.

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