Bellingham man maintains innocence after pleading to sex abuse of young girl

A Bellingham man convicted of sexually abusing a young girl must spend at least three years in prison.

Nickalus Nathaniel Martin, 34, got into the shower with a girl younger than 8 in a Puget neighborhood apartment in spring 2013. According to charging papers, Martin made her perform sex acts and told her afterward not to tell anyone. The girl waited months, until she and her mother moved away, to report the abuse.

Martin maintained his innocence, even after pleading guilty in May to a reduced charge of attempted assault of a child in the second degree with a sexual motivation, a class C felony.

In a written statement in his case file, Martin suggested the girl’s mother — who “can’t disifer from truth and fiction very well” (sic) — had coached the victim to tell the story, to get back at him for their toxic relationship.

“I took this plea because I don’t doubt (the girl’s mother) would fabricate a story with all her witnesses and lie just to hurt me that’s how it is,” Martin wrote.

Superior Court Judge Deborra Garrett approved a plea deal last week that will put Martin behind bars for at least three years, with a maximum term of five years. The girl’s family did not want her to have to testify.

“Everything we did was to keep her from having to take the stand,” said Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Eric Richey.

Once he’s released, Martin will be required to register as a sex offender. Martin had four felonies on his record: two felony thefts and two felony violations of a protection order.

The girl has a no-contact order against Martin until September 2022.