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Prosecution nears end in Sound Doctrine pastor Malcolm Fraser trial for child rape and molestation
The criminal trial for child rape and molestation of Sound Doctrine pastor Malcolm Fraser continued last week as the young woman who took allegations to Enumclaw police took the stand.
King County Deputy Prosecutor Jason Simmons was scheduled to wrap up the state’s case Tuesday.
Fraser’s attorney, Ann Carey of the Seattle firm Carey & Lillevik, is set to begin the defense case today, Wednesday.
Fraser is charged with two counts of first degree rape of a child and two counts of first degree molestation for incidents alleged to have occurred between 2005 and 2006 at a house in Enumclaw when the girl was 10 and 11 years old.
The trial began April 3 with pretrial motion and jury selection. The prosecution’s case has spanned more than two weeks. The case is expected to go to the jury at the end of May.
State vs. Malcolm Fraser
The young woman, now 18 years old, who has alleged Fraser raped and molested her, took the stand at 11:45 a.m. May 8. She was on the stand the rest of that day and Thursday. It was expected the cross examination and redirect would conclude Tuesday.
Prior to the young woman’s testimony, the jury heard testimony from her mother, stepfather and several witnesses giving testimony about the timeline when Fraser and his wife were living in the home of the alleged victim.
Simmons’ direct examination walked the young woman through the period of time when her parents joined Sound Doctrine Church and when Fraser moved into the home.
According to her mother, the leadership of the church, which included Tim Williams, along with Fraser, directed the family to allow Fraser and his wife, Julie, to move into the home.
Numerous witnesses, including the young woman, have testified Fraser’s wife is deaf.
The young woman said she moved with her parents to Enumclaw when her parents joined Sound Doctrine. She was about 5 years old at the time.
The Family and Sound Doctrine
The young woman testified when Fraser moved into the house when she was 10, “In a way it was kind of a big deal because of his position (in the church)…. It was a little intimidating. I knew our rules and the way we lived would change.”
She stated she played and associated only with members of the church and she was homeschooled by her mother with members of the church.
She stated about every other month she visited her biological father in Tacoma, but would get rebuked when she returned, “if someone knew I was watching TV or eating junk food or wearing my sister’s clothes.”
According to the young woman, church doctrine called for her to wear long skirts to her ankles and “no tight pants, no jeans.”
The young woman testified she looked forward to the visits with her biological father because, “I could let loose and be like a normal kid.”
Once Fraser moved in to the home, the family began a “manners boot camp” according to the young woman and her mother.
The mother testified the boot camp was instituted at the direction of Tim Williams and Fraser.
“Apparently my children were rude and vile and made people vomit,” the mother testified. “I thought my children were very well behaved.”
Along with the young woman, there were two other sisters, both younger. One was 7 at the time of the alleged abuse and the other was 4.
The mother said once the boot camp was started, “Every day when Malcolm came home from work I was to report to him any discipline…. Everything had to be reported to him (Fraser). If I didn’t he was the one to rebuke me.”
She said the boot camp was designed to make the children, “100 percent completely obedient without question.”
Fraser worked at WinePress Publishing in Enumclaw, which is owned by Sound Doctrine, as is the Salt Shaker book store.
The boot camp involved the children all standing at attention when Fraser and other men entered the house and not speaking until spoken to by one of the men.
The children were to set a formal table and learn intricate ways of folding napkins.
The mother testified the boot camp program tried to make the children, “the same every day, all day…. They weren’t allowed to display their own personalities.”
The young woman testified that during the boot camp and while Fraser lived in the house, “It was pretty miserable. It was really hard. I dreaded every day, especially dinner. Someone would always get in trouble, kids or parents. They would be rebuked by Malcolm.”
The young woman and her mother testified that Fraser was in charge of the house, sitting at the head of the dinner table while the stepfather sat at the other end.
According to the mother’s testimony, the stepfather worked weekends remodeling a home for Tim Williams and his wife in Ashford, Wash. She said he was to volunteer his labor and was not compensated for the work.
The mother said Fraser did not contribute to the rent or utility payments, but did help with groceries.
The mother testified Fraser and the church leadership “constantly hung my salvation over my head,” telling her she would go to hell and was not “seeking the light.”
The mother said, “Fear was the most common feeling I felt. Fear for my salvation and afraid of rebukes again, again and again…. My understanding was I was not spiritually fit to be a mother.”
During cross examination the mother said, “It was a terrible mistake for me to have ever gotten involved with that group.”
She also said under cross examination she did not like Tim Williams and Fraser.
“Obviously, I dislike them,” she said. “They are mean people.”
The defense strategy is to show bias and prejudice against the church on the part of the mother and young woman. The defense appears to be attempting to establish the family’s bias and dislike of the church leaders as the reason for allegations being leveled against Fraser.
The mother described her daughter as shy, quiet and soft spoken, which is how she appeared during testimony. When she took the stand she did not make eye contact with Fraser and, when asked by the prosector if he was in the room, she described his gray suit, but never looked in his direction.
Fraser did not look at the young woman during direct examination by the prosecutor, but wrote in a black notebook during her testimony.
The prosecutor began asking the young woman about the alleged abuse after she had been on the stand about two hours.
Once the testimony turned to the details of the alleged abuse, the young woman’s demeanor changed, with her voice dropping to almost a whisper, at times with long pauses. She would often wipe tears away while answering the prosecutor’s questions. She folded and flattened a handkerchief repeatedly and never looked up. She neither made eye contact with the prosecutor, jury or Fraser during her testimony.
Two jurors appeared to cry at times during her testimony and a woman in the courtroom behind the defense table could be heard crying.
Simmons’ first question about the alleged crime was, “Did Malcolm Fraser ever visit you when you were sleeping?”
In a barely audible voice the young woman described the first incident as, “I remember waking up to him in my room. He like put… covered my mouth with his hand right away… and he told me to be quiet…. “
She went on to describe the alleged abuse in detail under questioning from Simmons.
“I was like kicking and squirming and trying to, like, yell,” she said. “His hand was over my mouth and he was telling me to be quiet…. If I told, he was going to hurt me and my mom.”
After Fraser left her room, the young woman said, she hid under her covers and cried.
After the first incident, she said, “I was confused at first. I didn’t understand what he was doing or why he was doing that to me.”
Later, under direct testimony, she described her thoughts.
“I was thinking, ‘Why was this happening to me and what should I do? Why me?’” she said.
She testified Fraser told her repeatedly if she told anyone he would hurt her and her mother, kick them out of the church and she would go to hell.
“I thought that he was right,” she said. “I was just a kid and he was one of the big pastor guys. Why wouldn’t they believe him over me? He could physically hurt either of us or if he got us thrown out of the church… if we weren’t going to church we were both going to hell.”
The young woman described repeated nights when Fraser was alleged to have come to her room around midnight or later and abused her.
“He would tell me I was crazy and sometimes he would say things like because of my dark skin I was prettier.”
The young woman said she was the only African-American child in the church.
When the prosecutor asked her how the alleged attacks made her feel, she testified, “I felt dirty and I was afraid. I was just embarrassed… just embarrassed that that was happening to me.”
When asked why she did not tell her mother, she said,” I was afraid what would happen to me and what would happen to her. I felt ashamed because I felt I was dirty and not pure anymore…. I just wanted someone to save me.”
The young woman said the abuse always took place in her attic bedroom, which had a door on it. The mother said in her testimony she could not hear the children when they were upstairs and she was in her bedroom.
The issue of slanted ceilings in the attic bedroom has come up from both the prosecution and defense.
According to the young woman an “average size man” could stand up in the room.
The mother said two men remodeled the room.
Another issue central to the case was blood in the young woman’s underwear.
The mother testified under cross examination and under direct she never saw blood in the girl’s underwear while doing laundry.
The young woman said there was blood in her underwear three times and, under cross examination, said it may have been as many as seven or eight. She said each time she was careful to throw her underwear away and hide it in the garbage so it would not be found because she was ashamed and afraid of Fraser.
Under cross examination the girl said the abuse started in October and ended in April about a month before the family moved to a new home in Enumclaw that did not have a room for the Frasers.
The mother said Fraser rebuked her for moving into a house where he and his wife could not live with the family.
The Case Continues
Cross examination of the young woman by Carey was expected to continue through Tuesday.
Carey had the young woman outline the time period of the alleged crimes and the number of incidents each week. The girl stated the incidents began around the end of October 2005 and continued through the first week of April 2006. She stated the abuse occurred one to three times per week.
The defense appears to be attempting to challenge when Fraser was living in the house.
One witness, Tim Noren, a former member of the church who worked at WinePress, said he moved Fraser and his wife into the family’s home when the weather was “very cold outside.”
The family moved out in May 2006.
The defense is challenging whether the Frasers lived in the house in 2005.
Noren could not pin down exact dates under cross examination, only stating it was very cold and he remembered it because Fraser wanted his desk in a certain spot which involved moving an upright piano.
He also testified he had heard Fraser was stating he lived in the house for only six weeks.
“Could it have been six weeks? No way,” Noren said. “When I first heard six weeks my jaw dropped.”
Under cross examination, Noren could not remember who told him six weeks.
He also described observing the boot camp program at a family dinner.
Noren said he was “nervous” at the table.
“There was an opportunity to get in trouble at every turn,” Noren said. He said Fraser was in charge and the kids looked “terrified.”
The mother’s sisters also took the stand, describing the family dynamics while they were involved with Sound Doctrine.
According to the mother she was to cut off contact with her family because they would not give them money for a house.
One of the sisters said the mother, “would never talk to my mother… it was always very strained…. I have a very close relationship with my nieces and nephews. It was very hard on me.”
The young woman’s mother said she finally decided to leave Sound Doctrine about August 2006 after she was told again she was not a spiritually fit mother.
“I was tired of them mistreating my kids… calling me an unfit mother,” she said. “I’d rather go to hell than have them treat me and my kids bad anymore.”
She testified she believed the church leadership would have taken the young woman away but could not because her real father was not a member of Sound Doctrine.
“If her dad and I were still together I guarantee they would have taken her.”