Former border agent pleads guilty to child rape charges

Published on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 by Tara Nelson

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Former border agent pleads guilty to child rape charges

By Tara Nelson

A top official for the U.S. Border Patrol’s Blaine sector arrested last October on child rape charges pleaded guilty in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Joseph W. Giuliano, 55, formerly deputy chief of the Border Patrol’s Blaine sector, pleaded guilty last Thursday to three counts of child rape, a Class C felony that carries up to five years in prison for each count.

At the time of his arrest, Giuliano was the second in command for the U.S. Border Patrol’s Blaine sector, which encompasses Western Washington, Oregon and Alaska. He was arrested in October after admitting to having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl who was living with him in his Sudden Valley home.

He told prosecutors he had sex with the girl on at least 24 occasions. At times, Giuliano told the girl he was afraid of getting caught and that he knew it was wrong, according to court documents.

Whatcom County chief deputy prosecutor Mac Setter has recommended Giuliano serve one year in Whatcom County Jail’s work release program and complete three years of sexual deviancy treatment with a 61 month deferred prison sentence. He will also need to register as a sex offender.

The girl’s father, whose name is not printed in order to protect her identity, said he was unsure what would be a fair sentence, but felt that a year of work release was not sufficient.

“Because of the life long damage this man has done to my daughter and pain that all this has put the family through because of his deviant sexual needs, I feel that one year work release is unfair. It’s unfair to my daughter and the family as well as the trust he has broken of the people by which the office he held as the deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol,” he said.

Setter said 61 months is the standard sentencing for someone who admits to their guilt and takes responsibilitly for what they did.

“Those kinds of people are looked at as someone who can be rehabilitated, as opposed to someone who says ‘prove it, and take me to trial,’” he said.

When asked if he thought public officials should be held to a higher standard of accountability, Setter said only if the crime is related to their job.

“It wasn’t related to his work,” he said. “And because of that I am obligated to treat him the same way as I would anyone else. It’s an objective decision to a highly-charged issue.”

Setter said he has spoken with the girl and she supports a lighter sentence.

“She is still emotionally committed to him,” he said.

Giuliano’s sentencing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. June 25 in Whatcom County Superior court. Judge Charles Snyder will decide the sentence, which could be as long as 15 years in prison. In the meantime, he is free on $50,000 cash bail and under court-ordered supervision.

According to court documents, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s department learned about the case from an anonymous call from Bellingham high school, according to documents filed with Whatcom County Superior Court.

The girl told her friends she had been sexually active with Giuliano, who was acting as her foster parent.

She had been residing in his home with Giuliano and his wife since early 2008 after her parents separated.

The two began having sex during a family trip to Arizona, which continued after they returned home, often communicating meeting times via cell phone.

Giuliano began his career with the then-U.S. Border Patrol in 1985 at the agency’s San Diego sector. From there he moved to work at the Immigration Naturalization Service (INS) regional office in Seattle, and then to the Lynden office of CPB’s Blaine sector.