Crime

Bellingham child molester gets 13 years for abuse of girls ages 6 and 12

Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Bellingham man must serve more than 13 years in prison for molesting girls on both sides of Washington state, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Matthew Joseph Metcalf, 33, pleaded guilty to molesting two girls – one in Whatcom County, one in Eastern Washington – in the past four years. Both were younger than 13.

The first report came to light in August 2014. A Bellingham mother dropped off her three children to stay overnight with a babysitter one weekend that month. At some point, however, the sitter left the house, and sent the kids to stay with a married couple next door, according to court records.

Once the oldest girl fell asleep in the living room, a “huge guy” picked her up, took her to his room, and touched her privates, according to her report. The next day the mother noticed her kids were wearing different clothes. The oldest girl disclosed what had happened to her. She was 6.

The mother took all of her children to St. Joseph hospital for sex-crime exams.

Police arrested Metcalf in early September 2014. He told police he’d been high on methamphetamine with his wife all weekend, so his memories were hazy.

A few months later, while Metcalf sat in jail, a girl in Grant County reported she’d been molested on Valentine’s Day 2013. She remembered staying up late, watching cartoons, and playing with glow sticks with Metcalf and his wife in the Soap Lake area. Metcalf offered her something, which she now believes was meth, out of a bluish-green pipe. Metcalf’s wife left for the store. Metcalf switched the television to pornography, and he started sexually touching the girl, who was 12.

Metcalf admitted guilt in November to molesting both girls, in a plea deal moving the Grant County case to Whatcom County.

In a state Department of Corrections investigation before he was sentenced, he described self-diagnosed addictions to sex and pornography that started in his early teens. He recounted impregnating a 16-year-old girl when he was 13. By his early 20s, he had fathered five children with three young women. Meanwhile he was using heroin, pills and meth. Just before his arrest, Child Protective Services removed four more children from his home due to the illicit drug use.

Since his arrest he has expressed remorse.

“He felt like his crime was unforgivable,” a DOC investigator wrote. “He wanted to beat his head against the wall until it split open.”

Metcalf seemed committed, “even excited,” to getting treatment for drugs and sexual deviancy, according to his evaluation. His plea deal means he won’t face what’s called an indeterminate sentence review board – and a potential life sentence – but his prison term is well above the standard of between 7¼ years and 9½ years. Metcalf had no felony record. One reason for the plea bargain was to prevent the girls from having to testify, said Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Eric Richey.

“I’d consider this to be a success story,” Richey said.

Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis approved the plea deal and sentenced Metcalf to 13 years and 10 months behind bars.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

  Comments