Judge Allows More Charges Against Ex-Prosser Mayor

Judge Allows More Charges Against Ex-Prosser Mayor

KENNEWICK -- The new charges for Linda Lusk will stick.  A judge's ruling Monday allows the former Prosser mayor to face two additional charges for sex crimes.

Action News was in court Monday for a very heated hearing between the prosecutor and defense attorney.

Action News also got a hold of the court documents detailing exactly what Lusk admits to, and denies that she did.

One thing is clear, both sides don't want to see this case go to trial.

"The 14-year-old boy doesn't want to go to trial. The family doesn't want to go to trial. If she (Lusk) wants to, plead guilty, and spare the 14-year-old a trial," said Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller.

"Yes, we wanted this case over. There's no two ways about it, but we're not going to have it over if it's not fair," said Lusk's attorney Scott Johnson.

As things stand now, a trial is exactly where this case is headed.  A judge denied the defense's request to block added charges.

This all relates to that offer Action News detailed for you last week. An e-mail from the prosecutor said Lusk would only face one charge of child molestation, if she gave a statement and accepted responsibility for the crime.     

Miller believed that meant she'd pleaded guilty.  But Lusk and her attorney didn't see it that way when she gave a statement to detectives.  With the deal off the table, that statement will stick.  And so will those additional charges, for child rape and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

Action News obtained the court documents filed by the prosecutor before the new year. They spell out exactly what Lusk admitted to when talking with investigators at the sheriff's department.

According to the documents, Lusk told detectives she "took responsibility for sending a semi-nude picture of herself to the 14 year old boy."  But did not take responsibility for oral sex, which would be child rape, the most serious charge.  Instead, she says the two only hugged and kissed and she touched the boy's genitals while his pants were off.
     
In court, as Miller spelled out what she told detectives, Lusk shook her head and even at times mouthed the word "no" to the allegations against her.

So we're back to the beginning, with both sides saying they don't want to see this go to trial.  But that's still where it’s headed.  And now with Lusk facing more charges, the stakes are higher in this already high-profile case.

For more details on Linda Lusk's statement to Benton County Sheriff's click here.