Crime

Former Lummi cop-turned-sex-offender gets prison for assault in rape case

Rob Douglas Jefferson, 41, a Level II sex offender.
Rob Douglas Jefferson, 41, a Level II sex offender. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

A former Lummi police officer, who was convicted of raping a child five years ago, must serve 12 years in prison for an assault on his ex-girlfriend in a rape case, a Whatcom County judge ruled Thursday, Oct. 27.

Rob Douglas Jefferson, 44, dated and lived with the woman for a few months, until she suspected him of cheating and they broke up, according to charging papers. He moved out but continued to do chores at her house. He was washing laundry late Sept. 22 when she went to bed.

The woman awoke to find him standing over her, then climbing on top of her: He told her he had been taking care of her “needs,” so she needed to take care of his, according to the charges. He took out a zip tie and tried to bind her left hand to the bed frame. They struggled, and he eventually got off of her. She suffered bruises to her arms, legs, shoulder, left hand and stomach.

Jefferson threatened to kill himself. She begged him to call his brother. He did, and after about a half-hour of talking, the brothers left her home.

The next day Jefferson – a sex offender from a 2010 case – disclosed to a treatment counselor that he had recurring thoughts of forcing himself on his ex-girlfriend. The counselor asked if he had plans to do so, and Jefferson mentioned he had zip ties in his pocket. The idea reminded him, he said, of when he would restrain people as a police officer, according to charging papers.

Three days later tribal police arrested Jefferson. He was charged in Whatcom County Superior Court with attempted rape in the second degree and unlawful imprisonment with a sexual motivation.

According to court documents, Jefferson worked as an officer for Lummi Fish and Game for 13 years. He served as a Lummi Nation police officer from 2005 to 2010, when he was charged with raping a teenage girl.

Parents of the 15-year-old girl found 158 text messages in her cellphone’s inbox – sent over two days, some of them sexually suggestive – from someone listed in the contacts as “Amanda” in September 2010.

The phone number belonged to Jefferson, then a cop, and he had sent a picture of himself in uniform in a patrol car. Jefferson and the girl had met over a mutual interest in hound dogs, the girl told a detective, and one day she went over to his house to help with a dog that had been hurt. That day they had sexual intercourse, though she was too young to consent under state law. This happened again on at least one other instance.

Jefferson admitted to the offenses in an interview with a Whatcom County sheriff’s detective at the Lummi Police Station, and he was arrested and charged with rape. He pleaded guilty to two counts of child rape in the third degree.

“I hope treatment will help me figure out why I did this, and how to make sure it won’t happen again,” he told an investigator with the Department of Corrections in September 2011.

Most of his 34-month prison sentence was suspended under the condition of completing a sex offender deviancy program. Out of custody he did poorly: contacting minors, visiting Lummi school grounds and serving an extra 45 days in jail for those violations, according to court papers.

Then in February 2013, he was caught sending texts to another teenage girl. They talked about snuggling and called each other “honey.” A judge ordered him to serve the rest of his time in a state prison.

Upon his release he had to register as a Level II sex offender. He declined to speak with police when he was arrested again last month, according to charging papers.

Less than two weeks after his arraignment, he pleaded guilty to assault in the first degree. The ex-girlfriend, a woman in her 30s, was satisfied to have the case resolved quickly, to not be dragged through the process, and to know Jefferson would go to prison for a long time, said the deputy prosecutor, Jonathan Richardson.

Superior Court Judge Deborra Garrett sentenced Jefferson to 12 1/4 years in prison, the most time allowed under state sentencing guidelines. In an impact statement to the judge, the woman said the aftermath of that night tore her heart out.

“Had he done this to a lesser woman, he would have ruined them,” she wrote. “My hope is he seeks help, and never hurts anyone again.”

She ended the letter, “Robbie, I forgive you.”

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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