Rape convict claims sentencing was unfair

Daily Evergreen File

Christopher Reid is protesting his 2007 conviction for rape in the second degree of a WSU student.

By Kaitlin Gillespie

An adult film star charged with the rape of a former WSU student is now campaigning against his conviction and potential life sentence.

Christopher Jack Reid, 28, is serving in Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen on one count of rape in the second degree, two counts of burglary in the second degree and one count of burglary in the first degree.

Reid, who is known in the adult film industry as Jack Venice, was found guilty of raping a 21-year-old female WSU student in the Kappa Alpha Theta (KAT) sorority house on Sept. 12, 2007.

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis P. Tracy said Reid came to Pullman to find women to co-star with him in his films. Reid met Kyle M. Schott, who was convicted of third-degree rape and second-degree burglary, on his visit to Pullman. The two men visited several sororities before arriving at KAT, where both Reid and Schott sexually touched the female victim and where Reid raped her, Tracy said.

Reid was found guilty on all counts and was sentenced to a minimum sentence of nine years behind bars. He will be eligible for parole in 2017.

Reid is speaking out against his conviction and the policies of the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board (ISRB).

In 2001, the Washington state legislature passed RCW 9.94A.507, a law that places any convicted sex offender charged after 2001 under the authority of the ISRB.

Under the ISRB, the sentencing judge sets a minimum prison term for the offender according to the guidelines of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1981. The maximum term is the statutory maximum term for the specific crime.

Washington state defines sentences by using standard sentence ranges (SSR). The SSR for any offense is determined based on the severity of the crime and number of prior offenses. The SSR for rape in the second degree with no priors is a minimum of seven and a half years.

However, RCW 9a.44.050 defines rape in the second degree as a class A felony, meaning it carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Burglary in the first degree is also a class A felony (RCW 9A.52.020), and burglary in the second degree carries a minimum sentence of two months.

Reid released a statement in a YouTube video titled “Chris Reid AKA Jack Venice ‘Life Without Knowing.’” He said he is innocent and was not told he was facing life in prison.

Reid said he was offered a plea deal of nine and a half months in county prison but refused.

“Imagine serving life in prison and not knowing until it is too late,” he said in the video. “You might find it hard to believe that in Washington state, a life sentence is almost as common as a traffic ticket.” Reid said he wants the state legislature to pass a law forcing attorneys to tell their clients what maximum sentence they are up for. He said he has met other inmates in prison who were charged without being aware of their maximum sentence.

“They are sneaking life sentences in there like it was some kind of a game,” Reid said. “The problem that I have mentioned to you is that people are serving life sentences, and they didn’t even know they were facing life sentences.” Reid and his mother, Deborah Reid, said he will be releasing a letter in about six months that describes the “inconsistencies of his case.”

“The attorney that represented Chris did not explain to him if he went to trial and got a conviction that he was looking at a life sentence,” she said. “No one in their right mind would go to trial.” Reid was represented by Chris Bugbee during the trial. Bugbee declined to comment on the trial or Reid’s campaign. Reid’s current attorney, Kenneth Kato, also said he was unavailable for comment.

Lynne DeLano, chair of the ISRB, said the board does not have the power to change the length of sentences offenders are given. She also said the board must presume offenders will be released when they are eligible for parole, and that the hearing committee will have to “look hard for reasons why (they) wouldn’t release him.” “We weren’t part of the legislation, we weren’t in court with him and we weren’t with his defense attorney,” she said.

Tracy said Reid’s campaign is pointless, and it is unlikely he will have to complete his full sentence. Despite Reid’s claim that he was unaware he was facing a life sentence, the sentencing judge told Reid he was facing a maximum life sentence in prison, Tracy said.

“He won’t spend life in prison,” he said. “He’ll be released.” Tracy also said he is confident in Reid’s guilt, and he feels rape in the second degree justifies a life sentence.

“This woman was found alone and vulnerable in a place where she should have been safe,” Tracy said.

Reid will be eligible for an in-prison hearing Feb. 2017.

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The Daily Evergreen is Washington State University's student-run newspaper.
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