The 15-year-old son of a state senator pleaded guilty Tuesday in Lewis County Superior Court to four counts of first-degree rape of a child and four counts of first-degree child molestation for crimes that took place in the long-time politician’s home.
Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, reportedly did not call authorities about the abuse of an 11-year-old boy at his residences in Chehalis and Raymond when he learned of the sex crimes, according to a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office report.
The 15-year-old admitted to raping and molesting the 11-year-old on numerous occasions in the senator’s homes from January 2011 to February 2013, in court documents.
Hatfield allegedly told the victim’s mother that he would seek counseling for the 15-year-old and contact Lewis County authorities after he initially was told of the abuse in February, the report said.
The victim detailed the repeated sexual abuse to authorities on April 24 at Olympic Elementary School in Chehalis and said his mother walked in on the last incident, which occurred in February.
While the mother did share the information with Hatfield, neither reported the alleged crimes to the authorities, according to the report. The victim confirmed to authorities that the incidents had not been reported but he estimated at least seven abusive sessions had occurred since January.
“There was never any information that was disclosed to Senator Hatfield that would trigger a legal requirement for him to report any conduct to legal authorities,” Cristine Beckwith, a Tacoma-based attorney for the Hatfields, said in a prepared statement.
Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said Hatfield and the mother’s failure to call the authorities was not illegal because parents are not mandatory reporters unless the child experiences significant physical injuries as outlined in the state law.
“I don’t think they fall in any of those requirements,” Meyer said.
Hatfield did not respond to calls and emails from The Chronicle for comment about the sexual abuse or his failure to report the crimes in his home.
According to his attorney’s statement, he changed his supervision plan for his son and was setting up appropriate counseling after learning of the sexual abuse.
Once those things were in place, Hatfield intended to have his son turn himself into authorities, Beckwith said.
Voters re-elected Hatfield to the Senate last year, when he began representing part of western Lewis County due to redistricting. He has served the 19th District since he was appointed to the Senate in 2006.
He served in the House of Representatives for the 19th District from 1994 to 2004.
Both the senator and the 15-year-old boy declined to speak to Lewis County authorities on the advice of their attorney during the investigation.
Hatfield’s son was taken into custody and booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention center before being released into his father’s custody and pleading guilty as charged.
Meyer said his office tries to close juvenile cases quickly due to a shortened time frame on incidents dealing with minors.
“We also want to get closure for the victims,” he said.
The 15-year-old’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 18, when the state will recommend two years in an outpatient sex offender treatment program and 30 days in custody, according to court documents.
“The purpose of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate offenders so that they can go on to be productive law abiding adult citizens,” Beckwith said, noting the 15-year-old has suffered significant losses including the death of his mother. “His extremely difficult childhood is a contributing factor in this case, and is not an uncommon history of other juvenile offenders.”