Sex Crimes

Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Charges

Sexual assault and child abuse cases involve the most legally and factually complex charges that can be brought against someone. As a prosecutor I dealt with many criminal defense attorneys who represented defendants charged with sexual assault or child abuse but were not experienced in these areas and did not understand the issues. Their clients suffered as a result. Thus, if you have been charged with a sexual assault or child abuse offense you need an attorney who has extensive experience handling these types of cases.

Any sexual assault or child abuse case is complicated and requires an understanding of expert medical testimony, forensic evidence such as DNA, the use of out-of-court statements, and experience handling young and vulnerable witnesses. In addition, the consequences of being convicted of such an offense are devastating and can include sex offender registration and life imprisonment.

My Experience

The majority of my career with the King County Prosecutor’s Office was spent in the Special Assault Unit where I focused on prosecuting sexual assaults of both adults and children as well as serious child abuse cases. Not only did I spend years trying these cases but in 2007 I was selected to be the Vice Chair of the unit where I supervised a team of prosecutors handling these cases. As a result, I have extensive experience handling charges like Rape, Child Rape, Child Molest, Assault of a Child, Shaken Baby, and Indecent Liberties. I understand not only what it takes for the prosecutor to prove these cases but what the common weaknesses are, how juries view and react to different types of evidence, how to handle expert and vulnerable witnesses, how to negotiate with the prosecutor’s office, and what the different sentencing alternatives are. This experience allows me to provide my clients with exceptional, experience-based advice on the best way to handle their charges.

Notable Cases

State v. John Pomeroy and Rebecca Long (Criminal Mistreatment): In August of 2008 an emaciated fourteen-year-old girl was discovered locked away in her parent’s home in Carnation, WA. Once the girl had been safely removed from the home authorities learned that the child’s father and stepmother had been restricting her food and water for the last 3-4 years leaving her severely malnourished and underdeveloped. I handled the prosecution of these two parents who were eventually sentenced to the maximum sentence possible.

Read the Seattle PI Article About the Pomeroy Case

Read and View the King 5 News Story

State v. Edward Whitt (Rape): In October of 2003 an 18-year-old woman from Des Moines, Washington was raped and robbed at gunpoint by a man who was hiding in the back of her car. The attacker was unknown to the woman and managed to disappear without a trace. Over a year later Edward Whitt was identified and arrested in New Jersey after DNA evidence left at the crime scene linked him to the rape. Once Mr. Whitt was returned to Washington I was assigned to prosecute his case and, after a lengthy jury trial, he was convicted of Rape in the First Degree.

Read the Seattle PI Article about the Whitt Case

About Wagnild Law

Zach Wagnild, Attorney

After spending the first 12 years of my legal career as a prosecutor, I opened my own practice in order to provide outstanding support and legal advocacy to those who are facing criminal charges. I purposefully keep a low caseload so that I can give each case my personal attention and so I have sufficient time to meet with my clients, discuss their options, and approach their case in the manner that is the most beneficial to them and their needs.

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