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Sound Doctrine pastor Malcolm Fraser convicted of child rape and molestation speaks at hearing
Sound Doctrine pastor Malcolm Fraser, who was previously convicted for child rape and molestation, spoke in court for the first time July 23. His comments came as part of a "motion to arrest judgement" hearing, in which he sought to have his guilty verdict overturned.
The motion was denied by King County Superior Court Judge Lori K. Smith.
Fraser spoke for about eight minutes, blaming his guilty verdict on those with "hatred for my church." He singled out Deputy Prosecutor Jason Simmons and, further, alleged the jury wanted to go home. He drifted into reference of Nazis, Jews and the judgement of God while telling the judge to "do the right thing" by overturning the guilty verdict of the jury.
In denying the motion, the judge said, "This court is doing the right thing."
Fraser is scheduled for sentencing at 8:30 a.m. Friday, July 26, in courtroom 4C at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
Fraser was found guilty May 29 of two counts of first-degree child rape and two counts of first degree molestation of an 11-year-old girl living in Enumclaw. According to the young woman's testimony the crimes occurred between October 2005 and April 2006 as often as three times per week beginning when she was 10 years old.
The jury trial before Smith in courtroom 4C lasted about two months. Fraser did not take the stand to testify in his defense.
Fraser was brought into the courtroom at about 8:45 a.m., wearing handcuffs and dressed in an orange jump suit. He smiled at the members of the church in the audience. Along with his wife, Julie Fraser, there were four other members of Sound Doctrine attending the hearing.
Defense Attorney Ann Carey and Simmons each presented statements addressing the motion.
The defense had filed its motion, stating Fraser's guilt was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt during his trial.
Carey's brief to the court stated, "The state failed to produce sufficient evidence so that any rational trier of fact could have found the charges against Mr. Fraser proven beyond a reasonable doubt…. For that reason the court should arrest judgement and enter judgements of acquittal on all counts."
Carey wrote in the brief the alternative should be to grant Fraser a new trial.
The prosecutor's brief stated the defense brief, "…disregards case law and ignores the fundamental role of the jury as the sole judge of credibility and the finders of fact."
Simmons wrote the young woman "testified the defendant repeatedly raped and molested her while he lived in her home. (Her) testimony provided substantial evidence for the jury to convict. The jury clearly found (the young woman) credible when it returned guilty verdicts on all counts."
• Editor's note: Fraser was allowed to speak at the hearing. He did not face cross examination challenging the truth of his statements as all witnesses did during the trial.
Following the statements by attorneys for both sides, Smith allowed Fraser to address the court, instructing him to stick to the issues in the briefs.
Fraser began by stating he wanted to, "put on the record personally I did not do these crimes, whatever that's worth."
He stated, "I understand this is the opportunity for this court to do the right thing. I don't see how anyone objectively could sit through the trial that we had in this courtroom and listen to all the evidence and come to the conclusion that I was guilty. I was certainly shocked by the verdict."
Fraser said, "I don't blame the jury for getting it wrong. I think they sat through a trial for two months, that was considerably extended and dragged out by the fact Mr. Simmons produced a number of witnesses that really had nothing to do with the case other than to attack my church. I think to be honest they (the jury) just wanted to go home. The speed at which they reached the verdict I am doubtful they were able to review all the evidence properly during that time or that they followed the court's instructions properly….
"Mr. Simmons can point his finger at me and call me a monster and say that I did all these things. It just invokes emotions in people when they hear all these kind of crimes, which are horrible. In this kind of case a jury is more likely to err on the side of guilty…."
Fraser went on to talk about the case and church stating, "I think this case has been bogus from the beginning and should have been dropped by the prosecution. I think this case has been underlined by a hatred of my church, which is evident in the trial and has been evident all the way through. I think without the hatred of my church this case would have been dropped."
He alluded to the parents of the young woman he was convicted of raping and molesting. He said the parents may not be "fully aware of all the accusations and details she made" and went on to say he and the parents had once been friends and "would know quite well I was not capable of such things."
Fraser said to the judge, "This is the court's opportunity to do the right thing. I had a choice whether to sit here and say nothing today or to say something that could possibly be used against me in the future. I think this is important enough at this point just to emphasize to the court that the law can say whatever it wants. Whatever your decision today my conscious is clear. I know that I didn't do these things. If you choose to deny this motion and go to sentencing then whatever is passed in sentencing I will abide by according to the law with a clear conscious. But this is your opportunity to do the right thing, whether that is following the law to the letter or not.
"In the second World War the Nazis condemned Jews, they put Jews to death, and many of the guards and judges in fact who were involved in that, their excuse at the end was they were just doing their job and following the law….
"I understand I am in a sense at the mercy of this court. I also understand there is a higher court and higher judgement. I am really making this statement today for your (the judge's) benefit, rather than mine."
Fraser ended by stating to the judge, "I would just like to make it clear that this court has the opportunity to do the right thing today rather than necessarily following the letter of the law. And if I was in your honor's position I would certainly want to take that stand for the truth and justice even if it meant costing me my job."
The Judge Rules
The judge began her response by stating she reviewed all the cases quoted in the briefs and the laws cited. She noted the "relief that has been requested by the defense is a very rare thing."
She said there is a "very high standard because it really does remove the process that is 12 people weighing evidence, following the law as the court gives it through its instructions and applying that to the facts that it has listened to during the trial and substituting that for one person's opinion."
Smith said, "In this case there was ample testimony to support the elements of the crime. The credibility of the witnesses, the weight given to each witness's testimony in total and in part was the jury's task."
The judge closed her statement by stating, "This court is doing the right thing by denying the motion because there is no authority, no basis in fact or law for this court to either arrest the judgement or to grant a new trial."
A juror had given an interview the day after the verdict was announced. The juror said the four women and eight men of the jury took their time and carefully considered the evidence. The juror said the members found the young victim’s testimony “really credible.”
During the beginning of the young woman’s testimony the juror said she acted like a normal 18-year-old, until the questions moved to memories of the rape and molestation, when, “Her voice dropped and she reverted back to that 10-year-old girl. Her testimony was very believable.”
In terms of the hatred of the church and that the charges were a conspiracy against Sound Doctrine, which was one of the basic tenets presented by the defense, the juror said it was not “not an issue” considered by the jury.
The juror felt very confident with the guilty verdict but said it “was still gut-wrenching.”
In the end, the juror said the members recognized, “It was not our fault. It was his fault.”