UPDATE: The Marine Corps has issued a statement regarding the sexual misconduct charge of Louis Abalos.
"We take all allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously. All reports of recruiter sexual misconduct are investigated thoroughly. Substantiated reports are adjudicated appropriately, with victim care and support as a priority throughout the process. With regard to SSgt Abalos' allegations from November of 2012, multiple investigations conducted by a Marine Corps officer not in the chain of command, local law enforcement agencies and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) resulted in no charges filed. The accused is currently performing administrative duties at Recruiting Station Seattle Headquarters and is no longer performing the duties of a canvassing recruiter. The Marine Corps continues to fully cooperate with all local authorities regarding this matter,” Capt. Dave Baugh, 12th Marine Corps District PAO.
King County deputies say they are making arrangements with 33-year-old Louis Abalos's commanding officers in the Marine Corps so he can turn himself at the jail.
He's been charged with sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree.
There is an active warrant out for his arrest. Prosecutors are asking Abalos be held on $75,000 bail.
In November 2012, a 17-year-old girl told investigators that Abalos coerced her into having sex with him.
We asked prosecutors what took so long for Abalos to be charged.
"There was ongoing investigation. Investigators were awaiting additional information regarding the defendant’s supervisory authority over the victim," said Dan Donohoe, spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
In charging documents prosecutors wrote, "As a recruiter, the defendant's job was to work with 17- and 18-year-old kids to discuss their options in the Marines and work with them for potential recruitment. As a military recruiter, the defendant is in a position of power and control over a prospective recruit's or candidate's potential career. During the time the defendant was recruiting [the victim], he had sexual intercourse with her on more than one occasion. [The victim] was concerned if she did not go along with the sexual contact that the defendant would be able to prevent her from making it into the Marines."
We asked criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Anne Bremner what makes this incident a crime when the age of consent is 16 years old in Washington state.
"'Position of authority' -- that's the key phrase when you charge the sexual misconduct offense," Bremner said. "So what does that mean? it means authority it means you supervise somebody for example we talk about teacher student we talk about coach athlete or student -- the ones we know that that authority supervision basically is a coercive type of relationship with somebody and there's a special relationship whereby you should not violate your victim."
Abalos did not answer the door at his home in Renton, and did not answer the phone when we tried to ask him about the allegations.
Prosecutors said Abalos was interviewed and denied any inappropriate contact with the alleged victim.
Our calls to the public information officer for the Marines Corps recruiters were not returned.
Abalos will be arraigned Aug. 28.