LYNDEN - A man previously jailed for sexually abusing a goat pleaded guilty Thursday, May 9, to molesting a young girl.
Gary Allen Veldhuizen, 30, of Lynden, touched the girl over her clothes when they played together in early 2011, according to Whatcom County Superior Court records. He knew the girl, who was younger than 10. Prosecutors believe he was grooming her for further abuse.
"Based on his history, we know his intent," said Deputy Prosecutor Eric Richey.
In May 2010, a teenager caught Veldhuizen in the act of raping a goat in a trailer on Enterprise Road. Veldhuizen had been fired from a previous farm job because of alleged sexual misconduct with another farm animal, according to charging documents.
At the time, Veldhuizen had no felony history. He pleaded guilty to a single count of first-degree animal cruelty, a class C felony, and served 20 days in jail.
Less than three months after his release, the girl reported the sexual abuse. At first, Veldhuizen denied the allegations. But after a polygraph exam, he signed a statement admitting to touching the girl inappropriately, according to the charges.
Veldhuizen pleaded guilty to second-degree child molestation. He has not been sentenced by a judge, but prosecutors suggested a prison term of two years. By law, he must undergo a sex offender evaluation before his sentencing hearing.
A separate burglary case was dismissed as part of the plea deal, but Richey said Veldhuizen likely will still pay restitution for taking engines and power tools from a garage in rural Whatcom County.