CORVALLIS — A man awaiting trial for allegedly raping a teenager in Philomath is now facing an assault charge for reportedly punching a fellow inmate.

Dominique Elliott Thornton, 28, is charged with fourth-degree assault for the incident at the Benton County Jail, which took place Nov. 8, according to documents filed in Benton County Circuit Court. Thornton has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Thornton punched 40-year-old Alex Randolf White six or seven times. The fight began after Thornton changed the TV channel and the other inmate asked him to turn it back, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Thornton has been in jail nearly a year after a 17-year-old girl told police that the Spring Valley, California, man raped her. Thornton faces charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, second-degree sexual abuse and contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor. He has pleaded not guilty.

On Dec. 22, Thornton appeared in court for a bail reduction hearing. He had asked for the security in his case, which is set at $400,000, be reduced to $50,000. A judge denied the request.

Thornton’s jury trial has twice been delayed, most recently in November. Thornton had been appointed a new attorney, Clark Willes, in August and the lawyer requested more time to prepare. A judge reset Thornton’s trial for March 16.

 

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