Ex-theater director pleads guilty

The former executive director of Mercer Island's youth theater reached an agreement with the county prosecutor's office and will not stand trial for a rape that he was accused of committing nearly one year ago.

Benjamin David Keylin, 58, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree assault, which is a felony, and assault in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor, on Friday, Oct. 10. He will be sentenced on Dec. 5 by Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell and faces three to nine months of jail time, said Dan Donohoe, the spokesperson for the King County Prosecutor's office. According to Donohoe, the prosecution thought there were "proof problems" in the rape case and that is why they offered the lesser charge.

Keylin was accused of raping the daughter of his former girlfriend and inappropriately touching her younger daughter as well. Keylin was arrested in December 2007 at his Island condo, where the rape allegedly occurred. After his arrest, Keylin was immediately removed from his position with Youth Theatre Northwest. It was also learned that Keylin was charged for attempted rape over a decade ago under similar circumstances. According to board members of Youth Theatre Northwest, those charges did not show up when they conducted a background check upon his hiring. Records with the county prosecutor's office, however, show that the attempted rape charge was reduced to assault because Keylin entered an Alford plea — when a suspect does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is sufficient evidence that a jury might convict.

Keylin has been free on bail following his arrest.

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