A former resident of Bellingham’s Puget neighborhood is suspected of having sexually inappropriate contact with a girl he was familiar with who was 9 or 10 years old at the time.
Carlos Martinez-Esteban, 31, was booked into Whatcom County Jail on Thursday on suspicion of first-degree child molestation, according to jail records, and is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
The crime was reported to the Bellingham Police in 2016, but had occurred a few years earlier, according to information provided to The Bellingham Herald by Lt. Claudia Murphy. Martinez-Esteban was living in eastern Washington, and after a warrant was issued for his arrest, he was taken to Whatcom County last week.
According to Whatcom County Superior Court records, the victim told a friend of the inappropriate contact and then in November of 2016 told a counselor at her school that Martinez-Esteban allegedly had groped her on one occasion and rubbed himself against her on another while she was in the third or fourth grade.
Martinez-Esteban moved to Wapato during the summer of 2015, court documents state, and the then-12-year-old victim went for a visit and spent most of the summer at his house. During that time, the victim said Martinez-Esteban rubbed her sexually and put money down her shirt. Those incidents were referred to the Wapato Police Department.