A jury has acquitted a Vader man of a third-degree rape of a child charge that was filed after he was accused of assaulting a teenage girl in July 2019.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Forrest D. Vandel had been accused of inappropriately touching the victim without her consent. A family member attempted to confront Vandel, resulting in a dispute that led to someone contacting the authorities. Vandel was formally charged on July 22, 2019, and pleaded not-guilty. He was released on a $50,000 bail bond on Aug. 1, 2019, and was out of custody at the time of his two-day trial that began March 3, 2021.
A person is deemed guilty of third-degree rape of a child in Washington if it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt that the person had sexual intercourse with another person between the ages of 14 and 16 years old, the person wasn’t married to the victim, and the person is at least 48 months older than the victim.
After an hour-long deliberation on March 4, the 12-person jury determined that there was enough reasonable doubt to the accusations to acquit Vandel.
As a result of the acquittal, Judge James Lawler dismissed the case against Vandel without prejudice, bail was exonerated and a sexual assault protection order for the alleged victim was rescinded.