Enumclaw Police have until Jan. 4 to search for and turn over any deleted emails and documents connected to the arrest and investigation of a local assistant pastor who is charged with two counts of first-degree child rape.
The order, from King County Superior Court Judge Beth Andrus, came after the attorney for Malcolm John Fraser alleged that police misconduct and bias have prevented her client from getting a fair and speedy trial.
Enumclaw Police Detective Grant McCall found probable cause for Fraser's arrest in March stemming from a report police received from Child Protective Services about inappropriate contact with a minor that reportedly occurred between 2005 and 2006. Fraser, whose trial was to have started last Tuesday, Dec. 11, is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a girl who was between 10 and 11 years old at the time. His trial has been delayed until Jan. 16 while the computer forensic examination is completed.
Ian Goodhew of the King County Prosecutor's Office said Andrus issued her order regarding police department computers on Dec. 7 during a motion to dismiss hearing by Fraser's defense team.
Andrus ruled that Fraser's defense team had not shown that dismissal was warranted, according to a video recording of the hearing. However, "the court concludes that his [McCall's] personal religious opposition to what he perceives is the theology of Sound Doctrine Church may be affecting his judgment in this regard."
That conclusion was, in part, drawn from an email exchange between McCall and Fraser's mother. In her brief seeking dismissal, Fraser's attorney, Ann M. Carey, reported that McCall expressed contempt for the Sound Doctrine Church by writing, "Malcolm's group is completely without the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," and, "The fruit exhibited by Malcolm's group is evil and twisted."
Deputy prosecuting attorney Jason Simmons countered in his response brief that, "the defendant's mother used highly religious language in her email and expressed a dislike for the Sound Doctrine Church. In an effort to create a rapport with the defendant's mother, McCall used similar language when he responded."
Carey also accuses investigators of governmental misconduct by withholding evidence for nearly six months and deleting emails that were pertinent to the case. Andrus said during the hearing that she did not believe McCall had deleted emails in a malevolent or intentional attempt to suppress evidence from the defense. Her order for the forensic examination covers the police department's email server as well as McCall's computer and all staff computers that might contain documents pertaining to Sound Doctrine Church.
With the Jan. 4 deadline and trial set for Jan. 16, that was enough time for Fraser's defense team to review any new material turned over, and his right to a speedy trial was not an issue, she said.
Editor's note: Patch was not present at the Dec. 7 hearing. Reporting was done with the assistance of a video clip made by The Discerning Times, a publication connected with Sound Doctrine Church. The full clip of Andrus' ruling is viewable at http://www.enumclaw.com/tv/judge-rules-on-enumclaw-police-misconduct.
See Also: Coverage of the hearing from The Discerning Times.