Joshua David Larson told Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper Dec. 29 he was ashamed of his past behavior, could not justify what he had done and planned to use the time that he …
Joshua David Larson told Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper Dec. 29 he was ashamed of his past behavior, could not justify what he had done and planned to use the time that he expected to spend in prison to transform his life for the better.
After listening to Larson, defense attorney Ben Critchlow, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Julie St. Marie and state Department of Corrections officer Kevin Isett, Harper said he heard Larson and appreciated what he said, and that he had heard the others as well.
Harper then sentenced Larson to the maximum of 89 months – seven years and four months – in prison for a single count of child molestation.
“These are serious crimes, and it has a tremendous impact on the victim,” Harper said. “There’s no way I can sugarcoat it.”
The 42-year-old Port Townsend man has been accused of molesting four girls in Jefferson, Clallam and Snohomish counties over a period of 22 years. His first convictions came in 2016.
In March 2015, a Clallam County jury acquitted Larson of allegedly molesting a 9-year-old girl at the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center in May 2014.
In March 2016, Larson was convicted in Snohomish County of molesting a 3-year-old girl, for which he was sentenced to serve up to 68 months in prison.
On Dec. 2, 2016, Larson pleaded guilty in Jefferson County to one count of child molestation in exchange for the dismissal of one count of first-degree rape of a child. The incidents in Jefferson County involved a girl who was 8 years old at the time.
During a Dec. 29 hearing, Harper disagreed with defense attorney Critchlow, who had argued that the 89-month sentence in Jefferson County should run concurrently with the 68-month sentence Larson had received earlier this year for two counts of first-degree child molestation in Snohomish County.
“In my opinion, it wouldn’t be appropriate to be concurrent,” Harper said. He said they were separate incidents, and Larson should be held accountable for both incidents.
Larson and Critchlow both had asked that the sentences run concurrently.
“I believe I will succeed. I want to do this for my son and my family. How could consecutive sentences benefit the public?” Larson asked Harper.
St. Marie said she was surprised when Critchlow asked Harper for the concurrent sentencing, which means Larson would serve the 89 months and 68 months together rather than one after the other.
Addressing Larson, Harper said he agreed with St. Marie on the subject of consecutive versus concurrent months in jail.
“It never occurred to me quite frankly that these sentences should be concurrent,” Harper said.
By running the sentences one after the other, Harper said, Larson would get the benefit of treatment and counseling. Larson also is to be under community supervision for the rest of his life and once released, will need to register as a sex offender.
St. Marie said Larson’s release date for the Snohomish case is estimated to be April 25, 2020. With the addition of the 89 months for the Jefferson County case, it is estimated that Larson could be released in 2027, depending on good-conduct time earned in prison, St. Marie said. She also said he is subject to the Indeterminate Sentencing Board’s review of his case.
The hour-and-a-half-long hearing was punctuated by numerous questions, including whether Larson could visit his 10-year-old son in the future. Larson and his wife are planning to divorce this year and a hearing is set for April on the issue of custody of the son, Critchlow said.
Harper noted that Larson had declined to be evaluated by the state for the sentencing hearing; therefore, there was no clarity on what kind of treatment Larson might need and no recommendation on allowing a relationship with his son.
Harper also mentioned that he had read one probable-cause statement that indicated Larson’s son had been in the room when Larson was accused of sexually assaulting a young girl. Harper said he did not know if the statement was true, whereupon Larson shook his head “no.”
There were also questions about restitution.
Critchlow said that he had talked to the victim and her mother, and that the victim had testified in court to three different versions of how she was molested. In discussing restitution and the cost of counseling for the victim, Critchlow said the girl had been in counseling twice a month and more recently less often than that.
St. Marie, who had said she needed more time to discuss the cost of counseling with the mother, said it can take a long time for sexual assault issues to sink in.
St. Marie and Isett both said that the one issue the mother of the victim wanted to see addressed in the sentencing was community safety concerns.
In restricting Larson’s access to his son, Harper told Critchlow and Larson that the issue could be revisited once Larson is evaluated.
Other conditions regarding Larson’s release in the future also were debated.
“I didn’t get to hear his side of the story and any mitigating factors,” Isett told the judge in explaining why he had asked for conditions that Larson not be allowed to have alcohol or pornography when he gets out. “Most sex offenders all exhibit addictive behavior,” he said.
The conditions also included prohibiting Larson from owning a pit bull. Harper asked Isett about that prohibition, and Isett confirmed that Larson’s ownership of such a dog was an issue because of concern for the safety of probation officers.
After approving the conditions and sentencing Larson to the top end of the sentencing range, Harper told Larson he hopes he becomes a better citizen and is not discouraged by the sentencing.
In March 2015, a Clallam County jury acquitted Larson of allegedly molesting a 9-year-old girl at the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center in May 2014. In the Clallam case, the prosecutor was barred from telling the jurors about other allegations against Larson.
St. Marie charged Larson with first-degree rape of a child and first-degree child molestation Oct. 29, 2015.
Months later, in January 2016, Larson was convicted of two counts of first-degree child molestation in Snohomish County after touching a 3-year-old girl during a Thanksgiving Day family gathering in Stanwood, Washington.
In the Snohomish County case, the prosecutor was allowed to admit testimony from all four girls who had alleged abuse, including the alleged victim in the yet-to-be-resolved Jefferson County case.