Crime

Bellingham man arrested on suspicion of molesting 11-year-old girl

The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday arrested a 31-year-old Bellingham man suspected of molesting an 11-year-old girl.

Earlier this month, deputies were notified by police from Dalles, Oregon, that a 10-year-old girl said she had been sexually assaulted in 2017 by a man known to her family while residing in Whatcom County, according to information provided by Chief Criminal Deputy Doug Chadwick. The victim also said that a second girl had been assaulted by the man in Whatcom County.

Whatcom County deputies contacted the 11-year-old girl and, according to Chadwick, learned that the alleged sexual assault occurred while the victim was staying the night at the suspect's residence about one year ago.

According to reports, the victim said the man came into the bedroom where she was sleeping with several other juveniles. The victim told investigators that the man touched her inappropriately under her clothing, causing her to feel "uncomfortable and scared." The victim also told investigators that the man attempted to sexually assault her on subsequent visits to the residence, but that she moved away and he left.

Nathanael Heflin was taken into custody Wednesday at his Bellingham residence without incident and booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of one count of first degree child molestation. He was still in jail Thursday afternoon, and the investigation in Oregon is still pending.

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