WENATCHEE — A Wenatchee man faces trial Oct. 22 after he was accused of committing a rape at a season-ending party for Wenatchee Wild hockey players.
James J. Fontaine, 39, was charged in July after a 24-year-old man reported Fontaine had raped him at the May 18 party, held at the Sunnyslope home of Link Transit general manager Richard DeRock.
Fontaine told Chelan County sheriff’s deputies his memory of the evening is unclear, according to court documents, and pleaded not guilty when arraigned July 31 on a charge of second-degree rape.
The victim made the report to deputies 10 days after the party, which was attended by 20 to 30 people including 10 to 11 Wild players, the players’ host parents and their families. Fontaine was among the host parents; the victim was not a Wild member.
The victim said he became woozy near midnight after drinking alcohol, and “had no ability to move, almost like he was paralyzed,” according to a detectives’ affidavit filed in Chelan County Superior Court.
Fontaine helped the victim to a guest bedroom in the DeRocks’ house, removed all this clothes and began to molest him, the affidavit says.
The victim said he blacked out, then came to in a lower-floor bathroom, where he vomited into the toilet. While he was crouched over the toilet, the victim said, Fontaine sexually assaulted him again.
“… He remembers finally pushing or fighting Fontaine off of him, then Fontaine was no longer in the bathroom with him and (the victim) did not know when he left or where he went,” the affidavit reads.
His next memory is a Wild teammember finding him “naked and crying” on the bathroom floor. The player summoned DeRock’s wife Robin, who helped the victim get dressed and into a bed, according to the affidavit.
Interviewed by deputies, Robin DeRock said the victim made “a drunken confession about what happened to him” while in the bathroom. Based on what he said, “she is certain (the victim) was ‘assaulted’ by Fontaine while at the party,” detectives wrote.
The victim told detectives Fontaine remained close by him throughout the party prior to the assault. “I have been playing this over and over in my mind, and recall that everywhere I went in the house, (Jim) Fontaine was right there with me,” he said.
On June 6 detectives interviewed Fontaine, who said he drank heavily at the party while playing beer pong. He said he assisted the victim to a bedroom, helped him remove his clothing and witnessed him throwing up, but “any memories beyond that are very hazy and not clear as if he blacked out,” according to the affidavit.
Deputies said when asked if he molested the victim in the bedroom, Fontaine said, “… I do not recall and I am not saying it didn’t happen.” Asked if he raped the man in the bathroom, he replied, “If he says that happened, it could have.”
Fontaine’s attorney, Steve Woods, could not be reached for comment. Fontaine, who has no criminal record in Washington, is free pending trial on $10,000 bond.
Richard DeRock said Thursday the party was held for local host families to say goodbye to Wild players who’d spent the season with them. It was held five days after the team’s final game of the 2012-2013 season, and was not a Wild-sanctioned event.
“We thought everyone was in a safe environment,” DeRock said. “There wasn’t anyone we thought was out of place, and trying to keep people responsible — that’s a tough thing to do when you’re dealing with people who are drinking at the same time. But we certainly weren’t trying to create an environment that wasn’t comfortable or safe for people.”
Many of the players at the party were 21 or older, DeRock said, and he confirmed they were drinking beer. The DeRocks have hosted Wild players for about three years, as well as exchange students and other visiting youth, he said.
DeRock said he has no reason to doubt the victim’s statement to police.
“He’s a really responsible, really nice young man, so I don’t doubt what he’s saying is the truth. It was shocking to us. We know all the individuals involved, and would never have expected anything of the sort.”
Four days before the May 18 party, team president Bill Stewart announced the Wild would relocate to Hidalgo, Texas, after failing to strike a new contract with the Town Toyota Center arena. The arena board then inked a deal May 22 with the Fresno Monsters, which will take on the Wild name and branding when the new season begins Sept. 18.