Crime

Two of Ferndale man’s alleged sexual assault victims were 10 or younger at the time

Clayton Evan Cummings of Ferndale makes his preliminary appearance in Whatcom County Superior Court on Monday. He is accused of sexually assaulting three victims, including two who were minors at the time, in incidents through the past decade, according to court documents.
Clayton Evan Cummings of Ferndale makes his preliminary appearance in Whatcom County Superior Court on Monday. He is accused of sexually assaulting three victims, including two who were minors at the time, in incidents through the past decade, according to court documents. The Bellingham Herald

Two of the victims a Ferndale man is accused of sexually assaulting were 10 years old or younger at the time of the alleged incidents, and police suspect he raped another woman four times last year.

Clayton Evan Cummings, 27, was arrested at work and booked into the Whatcom County Jail on Friday by the Bellingham Police on suspicion of three counts of third-degree rape, one-count of first-degree child rape and six counts of first-degree child molestation, according to charging documents read Monday in Whatcom County Superior Court.

According to information provided to The Bellingham Herald late Tuesday by Lt. Claudia Murphy, Cummings molested two children that he was familiar with when they were 10 years old or younger. Murphy said the crimes “occurred several years ago” and that Cummings was 68 and 55 months older than the two victims “making these cases of rape and molestation the most serious.”

Murphy said each of the victims reported separate and individual instances where Cumming inappropriately and unlawfully touched them and that one reported an incident where Cummings raped her.

According to the charging documents, the incidents occurred as far back as 10 years ago.

Murphy said there also was probable cause for four counts of third-degree rape of a woman known to Cummings that occurred between May and August of 2018.

Official charges against Cummings are expected to be filed within the next several days, and his arraignment is set for 9 a.m. March 15.

A sexual assault protection order was issued Monday for the three victims, court documents state.

According to documents, law enforcement has been investigating Cummings since August of 2018, which is when Cummings retained attorney Robert Butler. Murphy said Bellingham Police contacted Cummings on Feb. 20.

Cummings has a previous conviction from 2016 for first-degree criminal trespassing, a gross misdemeanor.

This story will be updated.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.
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