Jason Aldous sentenced to seven years

Warning: The following story contains graphic sexual details.

Jason Ryan Aldous, 38, of Friday Harbor, was sentenced on July 31 to 82 months of jail time and 36 months in community custody.

Aldous pleaded guilty on June 21 to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of distribution of a controlled substance to a person under 18. Charges were originally filed in June of 2022, and Aldous had initially pleaded not guilty.

The victim gave an impact statement to the court during the sentencing hearing. She began by describing the events that led up to living with the Aldous family.

The victim stated she was abused by her father from an extremely young age. After her parents got divorced, her mother met someone in Montana and within a couple of weeks of dating, moved there. Her mother pulled her out of high school and left her on San Juan Island with her belongings in garbage bags.

“I was not in this new life,” said the victim, who then moved in with her boyfriend. “I was … living in an adult role I truly did not understand at the time.”

At sixteen, her mother, brother and extended biological family had turned their backs on her. She told the court she was working hard to survive, while living in an unhealthy housing situation tied to a toxic relationship and attempting to get her GED, all the while coping with a “crippling fear” as her father still had partial custody over her. Aldous and his wife, whom she both worked with, offered her a place to stay.

“For a second I felt hope. I felt excited. … This family wanted to take me in. They wanted me,” she said.

Shortly after moving in, the three decided the power of attorney was the best decision so her father no longer had rights over her. Despite having conversations about her past trauma, the victim said the couple acted in ways that caused negative emotions to surface. She found herself having intense panic attacks. They brought her to the hospital, and that was the first time Aldous acted inappropriately with her. She was given medication at the hospital to calm down, and woke up to medical staff telling Aldous to get out of the bed. Once he was out of the room, she was shown pictures of him spooning her on the hospital bed and kissing her neck.

Upon release from the hospital, the victim said Aldous began offering her alcohol, cannabis and Xanax.

“Of course, I said yes. All I wanted was to feel something other than pain and he knew that. He waited until I was very intoxicated and began groping and touching me repetitively…. At this point, I was confused and shocked,” she said. “I tried convincing myself it wasn’t real. That’s how it almost always happened. I was never sober. Not a single time… I would black out every night. .. I woke up so many nights not knowing what had happened. I woke up in places other than my bed with vomit in my hair and bruises on my body. I’ve endured over a year of court dates and humiliation to get to this very day the day where I can proudly say I’m free from benzos medication and alcohol, the day where I can look my abuser in the eye and feel justice. A day where I know moving forward his kids will be safe, a day where I can stand up for all girls and women and say it is in fact possible to hold your rapists and abusers accountable. Thank you for listening.”

A witness close to the victim addressed the court, expressing the victim’s strength at having endured so much.

“There were times when I was so frustrated and upset that I literally thought my head would explode. [She] would lean into me and whisper ‘Are you doing ok?’ That is [her] in a nutshell. She is sitting in a courtroom being continuously re-traumatized while facing her abuser and checking on me to see if I was ok,” the witness said. “She was physically abused and emotionally terrorized by the adults in her life. DCYF (Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families) was called multiple times while (she was) staying at the Aldous household. She was bullied and shamed by the DCYF agent who had the authority and resources to pull her out of that horrifying situation… After all that she’s been through, she has the heart of the lion and an abundance of empathy and kindness. To me, she is a beacon of hope for all young women and girls who have been abused and shamed and a true representation of what social justice means to me.”

Aldous spoke briefly, apologizing for the harm he caused to the victim, his wife, his children and the community.

“It is not clear to me at this present moment whether you truly are taking accountability for the significant harm that you had on (the victim),” said Judge Loring while beginning to discuss the sentencing. “Nonetheless, with this sentence, and going through the treatment you are going to receive and the significant time that you’re going to have for reflection, (I hope) that you really come to acknowledge and appreciate the significant impact (on the victim).”

After 82 months, Aldous will be under another 36 months of community custody in which he will be monitored. Contact with minors will be supervised and he must refrain from alcohol and drugs.

While the defense and prosecutor had worked for months on the case, Aldous’ change of plea came about quickly.

“We were prepared to head to trial,” explained Deputy Prosecutor Teresa Barnett. “I was really proud of the victim’s statement. I think it was so impactful and I’m glad that the court part is over for her. This case was unique in so many ways, I don’t think many people realize how impacted she was. I hope this helps her to move forward.”