A Prosser man recently convicted of child rape and molestation claims his attorney did not present an adequate defense or allow him to testify at his June trial.
Richard Cain, 49, asked for a new trial — which would be his third — Tuesday at his sentencing hearing in Benton County Superior Court.
He faces a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison for sexually abusing a preteen girl over a period of years.
Judge Bruce Spanner delayed the sentencing hearing after Cain wrote in a declaration that his attorney, Christopher Swaby, prevented him from testifying at the most recent trial. The judge, citing a potential lifetime prison term, decided to grant Cain an evidentiary hearing to decide if he was denied the right to testify.
Cain hired Swaby — a Seattle attorney who has a history of defending clients in sex cases — after a jury failed to reach a verdict in the rape and molestation case in 2013. Records show at least five attorneys have represented Cain since he was charged in 2011.
Prosecutors decided to retry Cain this summer and he was convicted June 19 of first-degree rape of a child and first-degree child molestation. He did not testify at the trial and prosecutors say Swaby didn’t call any witnesses.
“My lawyer for some reason did not bring anything to bear in my defense. He was an extremely ineffective lawyer,” Cain wrote in court documents. “I think he set me up. We had a lot of evidence for my defense and (Swaby) didn’t bring any of it in.”
Swaby could be called to testify at the hearing. He stepped down Tuesday as Cain’s attorney. A public defender, Dennis Hanson, has been assigned the case, though Cain told the court he is interested in possibly hiring another attorney.
Cain, who records show didn’t have a felony criminal history before the convictions, argued in court that he should be released from jail on bail so he can look for another attorney. He said he has supporters in the community, who were in court Tuesday, willing to give him a place to stay.
“I am not a danger to society,” he told Spanner.
Spanner denied Cain’s request and he will remain at the jail until his next court appearance.
Cain was arrested after the victim told a family member he raped and sexually abused her between 2006 and 2010, according to court documents. She told an investigator Cain would allegedly tie her hands behind her back and call her his “prisoner.”
It is the Herald’s policy not to name sexual assault victims.
“The reality is Richard stole (the victim’s) innocence, trust and self worth. She will never again be who she was before this happened to her,” a family member wrote in a presentencing report. “She has been changed forever and has a lot of scars that still need to be fixed.”
Cain has said he never raped or sexually abused the victim. He claims the girl may have gotten the ideas about the abuse from watching videos on a home video camera.