BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) announced Wednesday, December 14th, they had arrested 61-year-old Richard Bartholomew at his Sudden Valley home on December 13th and booked him into Whatcom County Jail suspected of 4 counts of 2nd-degree rape of child 2nd and 3 counts of 2nd-degree child molestation.
According to the affidavit of probable cause to arrest Bartholomew filed in Whatcom County Superior Court by prosecutors, the victim was contacted by investigators in November due to a sexual assault complaint. Investigators were told Bartholomew had befriended her at a church when she was 12 years old and repeatedly raped her between 2007 and 2010. The assaults occurred at a house in Maple Falls and on a boat in Squalicum Harbor.
The victim told investigators, Bartholomew said “the heavenly father” told him that the abuse needed to happen for her to receive salvation.
Bartholomew was arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail on December 13th following what WCSO said was “a long, extensive investigation.”
Bartholomew appeared at a preliminary hearing on December 14th where prosecutors requested bail be set at $2 million. The defense requested he be released on personal recognizance. The court set bail at a $100,000 and he was soon after released from custody after posting an appearance bond. He is not allowed to have contact with minors as a condition of his release.
An arraignment hearing is scheduled for December 30th.
WCSO said in their announcement that this remained an active investigation and anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the WCSO’s tip line at 360-778-6663.