A Kennewick man who thought his child rape case was over in 2004 because the victim could not be found for the trial is back in court on renewed charges.
While Emanuel Hubbart got on with his life and moved around the country for the past decade, his alleged victim was left wondering what ever happened.
A phone call by the now-adult woman to Kennewick police in late 2015, and thorough research by prosecutors into legislative changes over the years, resulted in Hubbart’s return to Benton County Superior Court.
Hubbart, 49, has pleaded innocent to one count each of first-, second- and third-degree child rape. His trial is set for Sept. 19.
The case stems from allegations a young teen girl made the summer of 2003.
The girl told police that Hubbart raped her from August 1998 to July 2003, when she saved some of the DNA evidence and hid it until Hubbart was arrested in another case, court documents said.
The evidence was tested by a forensic scientist at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, who found the DNA profile matched Hubbart, documents said.
Hubbart was charged in 2003 with third-degree rape of a child. But when it came time for trial a year later, investigators could not find the girl and her family. The charge was dismissed in a way that would allow it to be refiled if the victim returned or new evidence came to light.
Hubbart reportedly moved out of Washington state in about 2005.
A lot of times individuals who are victimized when they are young may not feel comfortable coming forward and reporting things until they’re well into their adulthood.
Terry Bloor, Benton County deputy prosecutor
Then, last year, the girl, who is now an adult, contacted police about the status of the case, saying she would be “fully willing to testify” if prosecutors charged Hubbart again.
Before a 2006 amendment in state law, prosecutors had to file sex charges by the victim’s 18th birthday or seven years after the alleged crime, whichever was later, said Deputy Prosecutor Terry Bloor.
The June 2006 amendment in the statute of limitations extended the window from age 18 to three years after the alleged victim’s 18th birthday, or age 21.
But just before that deadline would have disqualified this case, the Legislature again changed the law in 2009 to say prosecutors have until the alleged victim’s 28th birthday to bring charges, Bloor said.
“A lot of times individuals who are victimized when they are young may not feel comfortable coming forward and reporting things until they’re well into their adulthood,” said Bloor.
Hubbart was charged again in December 2015 — well before the woman turns 28.
A nationwide arrest warrant was issued for Hubbart, and he was arrested while reportedly passing through Oklahoma. He was extradited to Washington, and recently booked into the Benton County jail.
Bail is set at $100,000. He also has a state Department of Corrections hold for failing to comply with conditions of his sentence on a 2005 harassment conviction.