September 25, 2009 in City

Ex-sports star sentenced for child molestation

Rogers basketball player had college scholarship
By The Spokesman-Review

A former high school sports star who was to attend community college on a basketball scholarship will spend at least four years in prison for molesting younger players.

Rikeya J. Crossley, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of child molestation in a case that involved sexual contact with two girls, ages 13 and 14, while Crossley was 17 and 18.

The girls were in middle school when they met Crossley and her friend, Denisha D. Whitehead, now 20, through a basketball tournament in summer 2006.

Whitehead, who played basketball with Crossley at Rogers High School, was sentenced last month to 12 months in jail with credit for 243 days served after pleading guilty to second-degree rape of a child.

Crossley was arrested in August 2007, just before she was to begin classes at Walla Walla Community College.

“There are times in my court when I wish I had a magic wand to wave to make it so things like this never happened,” Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno said Thursday before imposing the low end of the recommended 51- to 68-month sentence. “To send a woman like yourself to prison is extremely painful. You haven’t been a screw-up your whole life. You’ve been a role model. You were going places.”

Crossley’s lawyer, Jeff Compton, had agreed to the sentence, but Crossley’s family pleaded with Moreno to allow Crossley to avoid prison under Washington’s sex offender sentencing alternative community watch program.

Le Roi Brashears, an insurance agent and social justice advocate from Seattle, told Moreno he was “astounded” the court would impose such a harsh sentence.

“What I see here is anger and fear. I see homophobia and I see it all aimed like a rifle at this young woman,” Brashears said.

Crossley had been released from jail after 10 months but violated a protection order against one of the victims and molested her again, making her an unlikely candidate for the community program, said Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald.

Moreno agreed.

“You’re too high of a risk to reoffend,” Moreno told Crossley.

After family members of the victims described the pain she’d caused, Crossley, who will receive credit for time served in Spokane County Jail, apologized.

“I wish I could take it back,” Crossley said. “It was just something that happened when I was young. We were just all friends.”

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