Jason Dominguez (left). (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)

Jason Dominguez (left). (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)

Jury finds former Monroe prison guard guilty of child rape

Jason Dominguez, a former Girl Scouts volunteer, did not testify. A jury needed less than three hours to convict him.

Content warning: This story contains references to alleged sexual assaults of a minor.

EVERETT — A jury found a former Monroe prison guard guilty Wednesday of sexually abusing a teenage girl he met as a Girl Scouts volunteer.

Jason Dominguez, who also served as co-president of a school parent-teacher organization in Gold Bar, stared downward but showed no outward reaction when the verdict was read at 3:30 p.m. in Snohomish County Superior Court.

According to witness testimony, Dominguez sent sexual messages over Facebook to the girl when she was in her early teens. It escalated to physical abuse lasting from 2017 to 2019, charging papers say.

Dominguez, now 36, declined to testify.

The girl answered questions from attorneys on the witness stand for two days.

“I was scared,” she said, “and didn’t know how to feel.”

“It was just a new normal for me.”

“I just went with it.”

Deputy prosecutor Martina Wong recited that testimony in her closing arguments.

Dominguez targeted the girl because she was vulnerable and “all too trusting of him,” Wong said. He listened to her, comforted her and made her feel like he understood her. She thought of him as a second father. Many of their conversations were preserved in texts and messages on social media.

In September 2017, he sent her a pornographic image over Facebook, asking if she would do that for him. She told him no, because it was gross and “I’m only 13.”

In another message, he texted about a picture of her holding a baby.

“I was going to ask if it’s mine,” he wrote.

Other conversations shared in court were more explicit.

She said Dominguez, an early riser due to his work schedule, would wake her up in a guest bedroom and bring her to an isolated part of the home to sexually abuse her.

The girl could give few specifics about the actual incidents but estimated the abuse happened 10 to 12 times when she visited Dominguez and his kids.

The girl’s mother testified about finding messages while doing routine snooping on her daughter’s Facebook account. Until then, she did not suspect Dominguez of being inappropriate with the girl. The mother had trusted him, too. She took pictures of the screen, without realizing the screenshots would become critical evidence in the trial. She reported the messages to police in 2019. But in the meantime, her daughter did not reveal it went much further than banter. That only came out when Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives interviewed the girl.

Dominguez has remained behind bars since his arrest in October 2019, unable to post $250,000 bail.

Jurors heard opening statements Friday.

The state rested its case Wednesday morning.

Seconds later, the defense rested without calling any witness.

In closing arguments, the prosecutor painted Dominguez as a manipulator and a predator who took advantage of a teenage girl who needed support.

“When she realized it was wrong, she felt helpless,” Wong said. “The defendant was the only constant in her life.”

Defense attorney Eli Jacobsen acknowledged Dominguez had a “Lolita-type infatuation” with the teen but asserted the sexual messages were fantasy, not reality.

“These messages,” Jacobsen said, “they are so clearly inappropriate.”

But messages do not prove he raped the girl, according to the defense. The girl could not give dates of incidents or other details, like whether school was in session at the time, or the weather outside, or what season it was.

“The details are so light there’s no way to disprove anything,” Jacobsen said.

Still, seven men and five women on the jury were convinced by the evidence and the girl’s testimony.

It took jurors less than three hours of deliberation Wednesday to convict Dominguez of second-degree rape of a child, third-degree rape of a child and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

Superior Court Judge Anita Farris polled each juror on each count.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 16.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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