Former Prosser Mayor Charged with Rape of a Child

Former Prosser Mayor Charged with Rape of a Child
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Former Prosser Mayor Linda Lusk suddenly faces two new felony charges for sex crimes, including rape of a child and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

The charges come six months after the case involving Lusk and a 14-year-old boy first came to light. Earlier this summer, prosecutors charged Lusk with 3rd degree child molestation for allegedly inviting a Prosser High School teen to her home, in late April, for a brief sexual encounter.

As of Tuesday, prosecutors said Lusk had not committed any more crimes so KEPR wanted to know: why the added charges?

Attorneys on either side, who used to work together in the prosecutor's office, now disagree over an agreement they made in June. In an email exchange, Lusk's attorney, Scott Johnson, said Miller would file only one sex crime charge against Lusk if she agreed to three things: make a statement about what happened, be truthful, and "take responsibility" for what happened.

KEPR found, it's the "taking responsibility" part where there is a major difference of opinion. Miller argues, by "taking responsibility", Lusk would be pleading guilty to child molestation so the alleged victim would not have to be part of a trial at such a young age. If she did that, Johnson said, Miller would not file the extra two charges.

But Johnson said he had a very different interpretation of what that agreement meant. He told KEPR that he never believed "taking responsibility" meant Lusk had to plead guilty. He explained that setting up the parameters of a statement to police does not mean Lusk was confessing. Johnson said she was just agreeing to give her side of the story.

Since the deal was essentially off, prosecutors leveled the two new charges.

Neither attorney would agree to an on-camera interview since things are "heating up."

Johnson said he plans to ask a judge to throw out the new charges. It's up to a judge to decide if the former mayor will face one sex crime or all three.

So far, this does not change Lusk's trial date which is still set for January 24. Johnson still insists that his client will not take a plea deal.