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BELLINGHAM, WA — The deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol's Blaine sector has been charged with three counts of child rape, accused of assaulting a 14-year-old girl. Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said 55-year-old Joseph W. Giuliano was expected to turn himself in on Thursday.
Giuliano was charged Wednesday in Whatcom County Superior Court with three counts of third-degree child rape.
The sheriff's office learned of the alleged abuse this week when the girl told some classmates, who called authorities, The Bellingham Herald reported. The alleged abuse had been going on since spring, the newspaper reported.
Charging documents alleged Giuliano admitted to investigators having sex with the girl at least 24 times, beginning on a trip to Arizona. At times, he told the girl it was wrong and feared he would get caught, the court documents said.
It was not immediately known whether Giuliano was represented by a lawyer. A phone message left Wednesday night on his office voice mail was not returned.
Border Patrol spokesman Michael Bermudez refused comment Wednesday night, saying he was not authorized to discuss the matter until Giuliano surrendered on Thursday.
If convicted of the charges, Giuliano faces up to 15 years in prison, Whatcom County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Mac Setter said.
Elfo said the sheriff's office would continue its investigation.
Giuliano has been a Border Patrol agent for more than 20 years and as deputy chief has overseen operations in Western Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
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