Appeals court

SPOKANE - A state appeals court has again upheld child molestation convictions against a Moses Lake man who is serving a minimum of nine and a half years in prison.

Craig Jungers pleaded guilty in February 2020 to three counts of first-degree child molestation in connection to a 2018 investigation by Moses Lake police. He was sentenced to a minimum of 9.5 years up to life in prison.

Jungers appealed both his convictions and sentence arguing he was deprived his right to retain counsel of his choice, that he was deprived of legal representation in negotiating his guilty plea and denying him a special sex offender sentencing alternative “based on his victim’s wishes” constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

A state appeals court disagreed with all of Jungers’ arguments in a September ruling, upholding his convictions and sentence. 

Jungers filed a motion asking the appeals court to reconsider their ruling. The appeals court denied the motion this week.

Moses Lake police began investigating Jungers after a teenage girl told police Jungers had sexually assaulted her more than a decade ago. The girl told police she came forward after learning Jungers was spending time alone with a 9-year-old girl in his neighborhood, according to court records. The 9-year-old girl was in Jungers’ car when he was arrested on Oct. 23, 2018.

The  victim described to police an encounter where Jungers “directed her to remove her shirt," and Jungers had touched and kissed her chest, according to court records. She described another encounter where Jungers had watched pornography and masturbated in front of her. She also told police Jungers had told her and another young girl to touch his genitals.

The victim told police she confronted Jungers following the second incident and Jungers  agreed to stop touching her and the second girl.

Jungers described several occasions of inappropriately touching the girl and told her he did not want anyone to know what happened. “There was something between us, I don’t know,” Jungers said.

“Upon reviewing the conversation between Jungers and (the victim), it was apparent he had been grooming (the victim) by showing her pornographic material, playing childlike games with her, and entertaining sexual behavior between them,” Moses Lake police stated.

Jungers refused to speak with investigators following his arrest but claimed nothing had happened with the 9-year-old girl in his car when he was taken into custody.