Crime

Blaine man sentenced for rape of teen girl

A Blaine man must serve 14 months in prison for raping a teenage girl, a Whatcom County judge ruled Tuesday, May 10.

Sometime in the summer of 2015, the girl and Dennis “Denny” James Kelly, 29, sent messages back and forth over Facebook while she was over at his house. She told Kelly she had a crush on him. They went to his bedroom to watch TV and he made sexual advances.

Charging papers recount how she tried to stop things from escalating, but he told her it was “fine” and no one would find out, according to charging papers. She was under 16.

Kelly raped her, and later the same night he raped her again, according to the charges. At one point she told him to stop, which he did.

A few weeks later, in July, the girl told her mom what had happened. Her mom found messages in which Kelly talked with the girl about having sex. In one message, he sent a photo of his genitals. Kelly’s wife confronted him about the messages and kicked him out of the house. Kelly fled, later telling one friend he’d driven toward the Idaho border to avoid being labeled a child molester, according to a probable cause statement filed in court.

Police booked Kelly into jail in early August to face two counts of child rape in the third degree. One count was dismissed in a plea deal.

Under state sentencing guidelines, the standard prison sentence for the crime is 12 to 14 months for someone with Kelly’s record. The deputy prosecutor, Evan Jones, and Kelly’s public defender, Maialisa Vanyo, suggested a sentence at the top of that range.

Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis approved the deal on Tuesday.

The girl did not speak at the sentencing hearing.

Kelly had two prior misdemeanor convictions: negligent driving in the first degree and domestic violence assault in the fourth degree.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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