Jonathan Sage

Jonathan Sage

High court rejects child rapist’s appeal

The state Supreme Court doesn’t want to hear an appeal from a South Whidbey man who repeatedly raped two boys he was supposed to be taking care of.

Last week, the high court declined to review the Court of Appeals decision to affirm Jonathan Sage’s 2016 conviction on four counts of second degree rape of a child.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks explained that the decision marks the end of Sage’s direct appeals. His last chance is to file a writ of habeas corpus with the Supreme Court

Last year, the Court of Appeals rejected Sage’s appeal in a published opinion.

Sage, who steadfastly denied his guilt, made five arguments in his appeal, Banks explained.

Sage argued that the jury instructions didn’t make clear enough that each charge was a separate rape; he argued that he should have been allowed to cross examine one of the boys about the boy’s pot use; he said he should have been granted a mistrial when one of the victims glared at Sage as he entered the courtroom; he claimed that the judge should not have allowed one of the boys to testify that Sage had sexual contact with a dog in the boy’s presence because it was “unduly prejudicial,” Banks wrote in an email.

A jury convicted Sage of the charges after a trial in 2016. Jurors found aggravating factors existed that allowed the judge to sentence him beyond the standard range.

The judge handed Sage an indeterminate sentence of 35 years to life in prison. Sage will have to serve the minimum of 35 years and then a sentencing review board will decide if he should be released.

Two brothers testified at trial that Sage befriended them and their mother, then raped them at various places on South Whidbey when they were as young as 12 years old.

The abuse went on for years.

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