Whatcom County man back in prison after skipping sex offender treatment


A Whatcom County man must serve more than five years in prison for skipping his sex offender treatment sessions, a Superior Court judge ruled.

James Juker Garza, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of child molestation in 2008. He sexually assaulted a girl he knew at a home north of Bellingham during a family gathering for Thanksgiving. She was less than 10 years old. He was 17.

Later, Garza confirmed, after three polygraph tests, that he molested her up to 25 times over a three-year period, according to a Department of Corrections evaluation.

"I feel like I'm the worst person in the world," Garza said during the evaluation. "I wish I could rewind time. I wish I could say sorry."

In the same evaluation, he recounted a long history of being sexually abused, starting at a young age.

He served two months in jail and was released to an alternative program for four years. He violated probation in 2010 and had to spend 90 days in jail. Then he stopped showing up for treatment sessions in April 2013.

Last week, Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder ordered him to serve five years and two months behind bars. He's now serving his time at a state prison in Shelton.

Garza committed six felonies as a juvenile, none of which were sex crimes.

Reach Elana Pidgeon at elana.pidgeon@bellinghamherald.com or 360-715-2249.

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