Crime

Bellingham man sentenced for raping unconscious, intoxicated woman in 2016

McClatchy

A 57-year-old Bellingham man has been sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for raping an unconscious, intoxicated woman in the summer of 2016 – but could be in prison much longer.

Arthur James Wilkowski was sentenced Jan. 4 in Whatcom County Superior Court for second-degree rape. He will be required to register as a sex offender and is allowed no contact with the victim.

Because of the offense Wilkowski committed, he was sentenced under the Indeterminate Sentece Review Board. Once Wilkowski has served most of his prison sentence, the board will review Wilkowski’s offense, his behavior in the prison system, and will do a psycho-sexual and a deviancy evaluation and other tests to determine whether he would be safe to be at large in the community after he completes his sentence.

If not, Wilkowski will stay in prison and be evaluated every two years. This can continue for life as part of Wilkowski’s indeterminate sentence.

Wilkowski has been in the Whatcom County Jail since June 3, 2016.

The case

In early June 2016, Bellingham police responded to a 911 call around 2 a.m. in the 1400 block of Iron Street. Once they arrived, officers talked to two women in a car, who said they and a friend, a then-24-year-old woman, had been drinking at the Royal Inn for a karaoke night, according to court records.

The women in the car took their friend home and one of them had to carry the 24-year-old upstairs to her bedroom and help her get into bed due to her level of intoxication, records show. The friend tried to remove the 24-year-old woman’s pants but the woman declined, so the friend covered her with a blanket and left the house. The woman was not responding when the friend left, according to court records.

The friend returned to the car, but waited and watched the bedroom window to make sure the woman was okay. The friend later told officers she was concerned about the woman due to some messages the woman had posted on Facebook earlier in the week about a man who lived in her home but was not related to her.

After a few minutes, the friend said, a light in the upstairs hallway went on. She saw a man – later identified as Wilkowski – enter the woman’s bedroom and stand at the foot of her bed for about 10 minutes. The friend then watched Wilkowski remove the woman’s pants and rape her, records show.

When officers contacted Wilkowski, he answered the door wearing only a bathrobe. Officers found the woman in the upstairs bedroom covered with a blanket and, after several tries, they managed to wake her up. When the blanket was pulled back, officers saw the woman was not wearing any pants and her shirt was pulled up over her chest, records state.

The woman told officers she had no recollection of the night from the time she left the Royal Inn to the time they showed up to speak with her.

When Wilkowski was questioned about the possible sexual contact with the woman, he said he heard the woman enter the residence and went upstairs to check on her. He told officers he rubbed the woman’s feet and turned her on her side in case she threw up, then left her room. Wilkowski also described the woman as “boozy,” and said she had passed out, records show.

After Wilkowski was arrested, he admitted he sexually assaulted the woman, but denied he raped her. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 12, 2017.

Wilkowski had no prior criminal history.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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