“I am a survivor,” the 38-year-old woman told the man sitting across the courtroom from her.
The man, Rick Riffe, stared down at the table in front of him as she spoke.
The woman was 10 years old when Riffe, who at the time lived with her mother, molested her for the first time, according to court documents. In addition to the sexual abuse as a child, the woman endured physical and emotional terror during the time her mother lived with Riffe during the 1980s.
Riffe is already serving a 103-year prison sentence for a pair of 1985 murders.
On Monday, Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt sentenced Riffe to an additional 6 years and three months in prison, which will run concurrently with his murder sentence.
“I am a victim of Rick Riffe,” the woman told the judge Monday. “He knows that. Nearly 30 years ago, I had a horrible childhood and a horrible life with that man. Him and my mother and his brother were horrible people, but today I am here as a survivor. I am a survivor of nature, by chance and most importantly — a survivor of life.”
The woman spoke for five minutes. Riffe never looked up from the table.
The Chronicle does not publish the identities of sexual assault victims.
Last year, a jury found Riffe guilty of murder, kidnapping, robbery and burglary for the 1985 slayings of Ed and Minnie Maurin. Ed, age 81, and Minnie, age 83, were abducted from their Ethel home, robbed and then killed. Prosecutors alleged Riffe and his now-deceased brother, John Riffe, committed the robbery and murders for drug money.
When investigators pursued murder charges against Riffe in 2012, they also learned he had previously been questioned, but never charged, with the sexual abuse of a young girl during the mid-80s.
A few months after Riffe’s 2012 arrest, prosecutors filed sexual abuse charges against him.
The woman described Riffe on Monday as “the monster of my past.” For nearly two and half decades, the woman never talked about what Riffe did to her or even mentioned his name. In early July 2012, she saw on the news Riffe was arrested for the 1985 murders.
“Because of the horrible things this man has done to me and my family as a child, I have lived in fear of his name,” she said. “That July evening in 2012, when KOMO 4 news said his name, I froze with terror, then I cried with joy he was incarcerated. My life has been a roller coaster since then.”
His arrest, then subsequent interviews with investigators, forced the woman to face the pain of her past inflicted by Riffe. Despite his guilty convictions, and all the evidence against him, Riffe maintains his innocence.
“How can you even say you’re a good person?” the woman said to Riffe on Monday. “All the child abuse, all the child neglect, domestic violence, and the murders — all of that — but worse than that was that November night in 1984 when you molested me. That night changed my life forever. But guess what — you didn’t win.”
The woman, now married with her own children, said she wakes up every morning surrounded by people who she loves and who love her in return. It is something, the woman reminded Riffe, he will never have as he spends the rest of his life in prison.
After the sentencing, two of the surviving children of Ed and Minnie Maurin, who attended the court hearing, hugged the woman. Both Hazel Oberg and Dennis Hadaller, along with a few other family members and friends, came to court on Monday to support the woman who, like them, endured decades of suffering because of Riffe.
Riffe will likely be transported back to prison this week. He is appealing his murder convictions. His attorney, John Crowley, said previously if Riffe is successful in appealing his murder convictions, he will be resentenced on the sexual abuse charge, which would likely result in a lower sentence.