A Bellingham man accused in five separate sexual assault and rape cases is facing allegations that he repeatedly raped another inmate while in the Whatcom County Jail, according to charging documents read Thursday in Whatcom County Superior Court.
Carlos A. Scott, who is also known as Carlos Alberto Rivera, 46, is expected to be charged with two counts of third-degree rape. Scott’s arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Sept. 21.
Before setting bail at $250,000, Court Commissioner Angela Cuevas said she was concerned about Scott’s actions.
“Community safety is a significant factor in determining the amount of bail. I recognize he is in custody but the jail is part of the community. The short-term and long-term physiological and psychological impacts on a victim of sexual assault can be devastating to not just the victim but to the family and the community,” Cuevas said.
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On Aug. 21, a lieutenant informed the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office detective unit that there was a sexual conduct investigation at the jail. A 27-year-old Bellingham man reported to the jail chaplain, his defense attorney and his cellmate that Scott raped him on two occasions in June and that he was intimidated and bullied by Scott, according to court records.
The man said that when he first arrived in jail, he and Scott discussed jail rules. Scott told him not to talk to others, not to trust others and that nothing was free. Scott also gave the man a care package, which included some clothing, and said the man owed him.
On two separate occasions in June, the man said Scott assaulted him while they were both in Scott’s cell. The man’s cellmate reported the man came back to the cell crying and told him that Scott did something to him. The cellmate suggested the man speak with the chaplain, records state. The cellmate also reported the man seemed distraught and isolated in the several days after he had confided in him, records show.
During his first interview with detectives, Scott denied a sexual relationship with the man, and said what he wanted was only emotional. Scott said he was jealous of the man’s friendship with his cellmate. Scott said it was the man’s idea to engage in sexual activity, records show.
In a second interview with detectives, Scott said he wanted to clarify his previous statements. He told investigators that the man was the aggressive one and that Scott refused a sexual relationship with him. Investigators noted Scott’s story changed several times, records state.
Both Scott and the other man were housed in the sex offender wing of the jail. The man was convicted during a bench trial in June for attempted second-degree rape of a child and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, according to court records. He has not yet been sentenced.
The men had adjoining cells and shared a common day room, according to Sheriff Bill Elfo. Elfo said it’s the policy of the Sheriff’s Office to house those charged or convicted of sex offenses separate from other inmates in accordance with inmate classification protocols. The sex offender unit averaged a population of between 20 and 24 inmates in June, Elfo said.
Guards check the day room every hour during the day and every half hour overnight. There are cameras that cover the day room, but there are legal limitations for placing cameras in individual cells, Elfo said. While inmates are in the day room, they are allowed to close their cell doors, but not lock them. Each cell has a panic button and it takes roughly 37 seconds for a deputy to respond, Elfo said. The panic button was not activated during the alleged assaults, he said.
Elfo said there have been several other allegations of sexual assault in the last few years, but investigators were not able to establish probable cause in those cases.
“Victimization by means of sexual assault are always horrendous regardless of whether the act occurs in the community or in a correctional institution. We take these crimes very seriously and thoroughly investigate all allegations,” Elfo said. “Upon being booked into the jail, inmates are advised of their right to report sexual misconduct, assault and rape and informed that they will be accorded the same level of law enforcement services, treatment and care as anyone else.”
Elfo said Scott will likely be placed in isolation, as to prevent further incidents.
Scott is also facing charges in five other cases, where he’s been charged with sexually assaulting two girls, raping an intoxicated woman, raping a woman after a date and forcefully grabbing another, according to court records. He was last arrested in December.
Before his December arrest, Scott was arrested four other times in four months in late 2017 and charged with sex crimes that date from 2013 to spring 2017. He met three of those alleged victims at the Bellingham Athletic Club. Scott was also an elite racquetball player.
Scott pleaded not guilty in all five cases. His trial has been tentatively scheduled for Oct. 8. All together, Scott’s bail for his cases is more than $1 million.
Authorities have said they are concerned there could be more cases of sexual abuse involving Scott. Tips can be directed to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office at 360-778-6600. Those with information about Scott are urged to call 911, or contact Bellingham Police at 360-778-8800, or go online at cob.org/tips.