Sgt. Terry Preuninger, PIO
Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 3:02 p.m.
Three men sentenced for Rape, Unlawful Imprisonment and other crimes after drugging a juvenile girl and keeping her in their apartment for four days.
In April 2018, a 14 year old female was taken to the hospital by her parents and reported she had been held against her will, coerced to take drugs, and sexually assaulted by three adult men at a downtown apartment building over the course of several days. The Spokane Police Department Special Victims Unit was notified and began investigating.
Through the course of the investigation the detective was able to locate the crime scene and ID the suspects who would later be convicted; William C Jackson, 44yrs old, Harold W Sherman, 60yrs old and Curtis E Burget, 56yrs old. After speaking with witnesses which supported the victim’s allegations, the following events were determined to have taken place.
The victim had run away from home and was alone in the downtown area. One of the defendants, Jackson, found her and befriended her. He provided her alcohol, and brought her to his apartment in the 200 block of W. Sprague where he lived. Defendants Sherman and Burgett were also residents at that apartment building and the three men coerced the victim into smoking meth. The victim was sexually assaulted by all three men over the course of the next three days. During this time the men took turns “watching” the victim to ensure she didn’t attempt to leave the apartment. They kept her high on drugs and repeatedly sexually assaulted her. On the 4th day of the ordeal the victim was able to escape from the apartment building with the help of a Good Samaritan and was reunited with her parents and taken to the hospital.
The detective obtained search warrants for all three of the suspect’s apartments as well as warrants to collect biological evidence from all three suspects. The search warrants were served simultaneously on 05-23-18 by SPD patrol units, the Special Victims Unit, the Targeted Crimes Unit, and the Spokane County forensics unit. Physical evidence was collected from the apartments and biological evidence was collected from the suspects.
The suspects were originally booked on various charges including 1st degree kidnapping, 2nd degree rape, 3rd degree rape of a child, and distribution of a controlled substance to a minor. Bond was set by the court at $250,000 for each defendant. DNA evidence linking the suspects to the victim was returned from the crime lab in August 2018 and the case was submitted to the prosecutor’s office.
The three suspects plead guilty to the following charges and were sentenced as listed below.
SHERMAN pled guilty to Distribution of a controlled substance to a minor and 3rd degree rape of a child and was sentenced to 55 months in prison with 36 months community custody.
BURGETT pled guilty to Unlawful imprisonment and Controlled substance possession and was sentenced to 55 months in prison with 36 months community custody.
JACKSON pled guilty to Distribution of a controlled substance to a minor and 3rd degree rape of a child and was sentenced to 55 months in prison with 36 months community custody.
Note, the Special Victims Unit supervisor drew special attention to the exceptional work conducted by the lead detective and his handling of what was a complex case.
Officer John O'Brien