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Details released regarding charges against former Whatcom deputy trainee

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Details were released in Whatcom County Superior Court regarding accusations by 2 persons that led to the firing of and felony charges against a former Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) deputy trainee.

On July 12th, the day of his arrest, Austin Michael Case, age 23 and of Ferndale, was reported to have also been fired from WCSO. He had been put on administrative leave after an internal investigation began when the WCSO received an anonymous tip on June 29th.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by prosecutors, WCSO received an anonymous report that Case had sexually harassed women. 1 of the women was interviewed during the internal investigation and then by the Skagit and Island County Mutual Aid Response Team (SMART), a conglomeration of Skagit County and Island County law enforcement agencies to whom the investigation was turned over to. The woman said she had communicated with Case online and agreed to meet him and went to his house during the “fall/winter of 2022.” She told investigators that during that visit, he attempted to forcibly kiss her at which point she left and block him from contacting her online.

She later reopened channels of communication, telling investigators that he was fine to talk to when acting appropriately. During these conversations, she revealed that she was on probation for driving under the influence. Using an online application, he was able to see when she was in a bar and, knowing that was a violation of her probation, threatened to have her arrested if she did not come to his house. She told investigators she was afraid of being arrested, going to jail and losing her job so she did go to his house and he continued to threaten her until she had sex with him.

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Another woman interviewed by investigators said she had gone out to dinner with Case and, upon returning to her residence, he locked the car doors until he opened her car door from outside. She said he then followed her to the door of the residence and walked inside, locking the door behind him. He forcibly kissed her and, at one point, flashed a handgun while asking, “Now are you scared?”

The woman reported she was eventually able to get him outside of the residence and locked the door behind him. She said he immediately began calling and texting her even though she was not responding.

SMART investigators met with Case at the WCSO on July 12th. He declined to speak with them and was taken into custody without incident.

Case currently faces the following felony charges in Superior Court.

  • 2 counts of unlawful imprisonment
  • 1st-degree extortion
  • 3rd-degree rape (no consent)
  • 1st-degree burglary
  • indecent liberties (forcible compulsion)

Case was released from custody after posting a $250,000 bond on July 14th according to jail records and is scheduled to be arraigned on July 21st.

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