A 71-year-old Marrowstone Island man entered a pleading of not guilty Friday in Jefferson County Superior Court on charges of second-degree rape of a child and second-degree child molestation. The man, who is not being identified by The Leader to protect the identity of the victim, was arrested and booked into Jefferson County Jail on Friday, June 25. He is being held on $50,000 bail.
Police were contacted by the victim’s father in May, who said his daughter had been molested by her grandfather in Port Townsend. The father said he was told of the abuse by his daughter and the girl’s mother three years after it happened. The girl, now 15, was 12 at the time. The victim was interviewed by detectives in late May.
Authorities allege the grandfather began abusing the girl two to three months after he moved onto the property where the mother and daughter were living. She said the abuse continued “at least once a week if not twice a week for a long time,” according to court documents. She also told detectives she knew the abuse was wrong but “did not say anything to anyone because she felt that no one would believe her” because her abuser was a member of the family.
According to a statement of probable cause, another family member learned of the allegations in early June and confronted the man, who hung up the phone. He was later found missing from his home on Marrowstone Island, but had left all of his possessions behind except for his cellphone and pickup truck. On another call between the two roughly a week later, the man said he had moved to Colorado and would not be coming back and would be shutting off his phone.
During Friday’s court appearance, Jack Range, an attorney representing the defendant, asked that he be released on his own personal recognizance. The defendant had a place he could stay, with his son in Blaine, and has been a Washington resident since the 1980s. Range also said the defendant was a disabled veteran and did not have a criminal history. He also would agree to electronic home monitoring.
“He’s not going to abscond on any court order,” Range added. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chris Ashcraft said the defendant should remain in jail on the bail that was set earlier.He posed a danger to himself and the community, Ashcraft said, adding that police discovered the defendant had tried to slash his own neck in the days before his arrest.
The man had been arrested June 24 at a hotel in Ferndale where he had registered using someone else’s name.
In his court appearance on a video monitor from Jefferson County Jail, a large bandage could be seen underneath his chin. Ashcraft noted the defendant had recently been in and out of Washington.
“He has the means to leave the state and extradition can always be a challenge,” Ashcraft said. Superior Court Judge Keith Harper said the defendant was an “extremely high risk.” “He does pose a high risk of danger, not only to the community but to himself. I think he’s a very high risk to not show up.” “The short answer is: The bail is going to remain where it is set,” Harper said.