Sonics' Patterson sentenced to 15 days in jail

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A King County Superior Court Judge this morning sentenced Seattle SuperSonics forward Ruben Patterson to 15 days in jail, at least $5,000 in fines and restitution, and two years probation for attempting to rape his family's nanny in September.

Patterson, 25, must begin serving the jail time by July 17. Judge Brian Gain gave Patterson the option of serving his time in Bellevue or Boca Raton, Fla., where he has homes - and also through work-release or home-detention programs.

Patterson must also register as a sex offender in Washington state, pay court costs and pay for the victim's counseling fees.

If Patterson is convicted of a criminal act in the next two years, he must serve an additional 350 days of jail time.

Wearing a three-piece, tan-colored suit, Patterson entered an Alford plea to the crime of third-degree attempted rape, a gross misdemeanor, in which he did not admit guilt but agreed that a jury would probably find him guilty if the case went to trial.

"I did not commit a criminal act," said Patterson to the judge, before shaking his head, looking down and dissolving into tears. "I did engage in an act of consensual sex and I cheated on my wife. I would like to apologize to everyone I have hurt for my stupid decision, including my wife, family, team, fans, for my terrible mistake. I cheated, and I have learned a very painful lesson."

Patterson's wife, Shannon, stood by Patterson's side and also addressed the court:

"I am here because I do not believe Ruben Patterson raped or attempted to rape somebody," she said. "I have talked to him. If he had committed those crimes, I would have taken the children and left him a long time ago. I love my husband."

Jan Olson, the attorney representing the 24-year-old nanny, said she may file a civil suit against Patterson.

Judge Gain emphasized that his decision was not swayed in any way by Patterson's celebrity status.

"This case is about a criminal activity and what the appropriate response to that crime should be," Gain said.

Patterson's agent, Dan Fagen, said the National Basketball Association has already contacted him about the possibility of a multi-game suspension and a six-figure fine for Petterson as a result of the conviction.

Patterson is already on probation for breaking a man's jaw outside a Cleveland nightclub in June. Patterson was convicted of misdemeanor assault and sentenced in January to pay $1,000 and perform 80 hours of community service. Subsequently, the NBA suspended Patterson for three games, without pay.

"It is difficult to calculate the harm regarding his value around the league," Fagen said.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, prosecutors said Judge Brian Matai could impose additional penalties on Patterson for violating the probation. Tim Miller, a spokesman with the Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, said the matter will be left to Matai's discretion.

Patterson, a 6-foot-5 reserve forward, averaged 13.1 points per game this season. He will be a restricted agent this summer.

According to charging papers, on Sept. 25, while Patterson's wife was at a hospital recovering from cosmetic surgery, the nanny had agreed to stay overnight and watch the couple's children.

That night, the nanny walked into Patterson's bedroom to check on the younger child and saw Patterson naked.

He said, "Come on, let's do it." She twice said, "No." Patterson grabbed her and she had difficulty fighting back because of his size and strength. She broke free after performing a sexual act on Patterson.

Four days later, the victim told Patterson's wife what happened, then reported the incident to police.

The victim, a Kirkland resident, worked about five days a week for Patterson and his wife, beginning in January 2000. The woman and Patterson's wife, at one time, considered each other best friends.

The nanny helped care for Patterson's two children and his 13-year-old stepbrother. She had her own room at the Patterson residence, located in the Lakemont Highlands neighborhood in Bellevue.

The Pattersons have since moved to another home in Bellevue.

Both Fagen and Patterson's criminal lawyer, John Wolfe of Seattle, said Patterson wants to put closure to this case and begin the task of rebuilding his marriage.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Johnson said she was satisfied that Patterson had received the standard sentence for a person charged with third-degree attempted rape.

"We have to factor in what the victim lost," Johnson said. "She lost her job, she lost her privacy, she lost her friendship with the defendant's wife, she lost the relationship with children that she cared for deeply. Most importantly, she lost her sense of trust."

"The defendant's celebrity status has caused his personal life to be scrutinized, sometimes unfairly," Johnson said. "But the defendant is not the victim here. Fifteen days should remind Mr. Patterson of that."

The maximum sentence for that crime is one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. Wolfe, Patterson's attorney, had asked for no jail time and 240 hours of community service.

Michael Ko can be reached at 206-515-5653 or