Crime

Man accused of raping teen, threatening toddler at Bellingham motel pleads guilty

McClatchy

A Bellingham man accused of raping a teenage girl and threatening to kill her family, including a 3-year-old boy, at a Samish Way motel about a year ago pleaded guilty last week in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Andrew Garrette Seeman, 31, entered an Alford plea on Dec. 5 to second-degree assault and third-degree rape, according to court records. An Alford plea means he acknowledges there’s enough evidence that a jury likely would find him guilty. It’s still a conviction.

Seeman was originally charged with first-degree rape, second-degree assault with sexual motivation, unlawful imprisonment with sexual motivation and three counts of felony harassment.

As part of the plea deal, Whatcom County prosecutors are recommending a dismissal of four charges, but are seeking a stiffer sentence above the standard range. Prosecutors want Seeman to be sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison, with three years of probation, and he would have to register as a sex offender, according to court records.

A judge is not required to follow the sentencing recommendations. A sentencing date has yet to be set.

About a year ago, a then-17-year-old female, her mother and her then-3-year-old brother were homeless and living in different motels in Whatcom and Skagit counties, according to court records. The family met Seeman at a motel in Burlington and shortly after, Seeman began staying and traveling to different motels with the family.

In mid-December 2016, the teenage girl reported that Seeman followed her into a bathroom at the Villa Inn, pinned her down and raped her as she fought him and told him to stop. When she tried to cry out for her mother in the other room, Seeman strangled her, court records state.

Seeman then grabbed the girl by her hair and threw her out into the main room, in front of her mother, with nothing but her tank top on, the records state. Seeman then threw a knife into the middle of floor and told the mother, the girl, her brother and another man that he would “tie them up and stab them” if anyone went past the knife to leave the room.

Seeman said he would start with the 3-year-old and would “put it through his chest,” according to court records.

Seeman has a history of methamphetamine use and carrying knives and throwing them at the walls of the motels the family had lived in, court records state. The girl told police she and her mother were unable to leave the motel room for two days, when Seeman finally let them go to look for money.

The girl underwent a sexual assault examination at the hospital and had bruises on her knee, under her arm, on her throat area and scratches on the back of her neck, according to court records.

Seeman has no other felony criminal history.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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