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Convicted Sound Doctrine pastor Malcolm Fraser sentencing hearing | Family and supporters speak
Sound Doctrine assistant pastor Malcolm Fraser was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday by Superior Court Judge Lori K. Smith for two counts of first degree child rape and two counts of child molestation.
Fraser was convicted by a jury of 12, eight men and four women, May 29 for the rape and molestation charges following a trial that began in April.
The crimes were committed between 2005 and 2006 against an 11-year-old girl living in Enumclaw with her parents. Fraser and his wife, Julie, were living in the family’s home when the crimes occurred. At the time, the family was part of the Sound Doctrine congregation.
Prosecutors referred to the sentence as indeterminate. Fraser’s parole is reviewed by the state’s Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board before he will be released.
The sentencing range for the rape charge was 240 to 318 months, which is 20 to 26 years; the remaining 149 to 198 months, or 12 to 16 years, was for the molestation charge.
The judge sentenced Fraser to 20 years for each of the two child rape charges and 12 years for each of the molestation charges. The sentence is to be served concurrently, which means he is serving 20 years with potentially 10 percent off for good behavior, two years.
According to the King County Prosecutor’s Office Fraser’s earliest date Fraser can apply for parole would be after serving 18 years. Fraser is 41 years old.
The judge also imposed a lifetime no-contact order on Fraser with the victim in the case.
The judge did allow other parents to let their children have contact with Fraser with supervision and the parents being made aware of the crimes. Some of the Sound Doctrine members and Fraser requested their children be allowed to have contact with Fraser during the sentencing hearing.
Fraser has no children of his own according to court records.
Deputy Prosecutor Jason Simmons had asked for a midrange sentence of 23 years, but said he was satisfied with the judge’s ruling because it is an indeterminate sentence.
“Ultimately the jury was able to come to a just and fair result,” Simmons said. “The victim was courageous to testify in this case. It took courage to come forward and step up for the truth with what was occurring in the courtroom and community.”
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Rich Anderson said child sexual abuse cases always involve testimony of a “child or former child” and the prosector’s office has to be cautious because of the emotional nature of the charges.
During the trial it came out church members had put pressure on the prosecutor’s office to drop the case.
Anderson said in these type of cases that pressure is not unusual.
“We put pressure on ourselves to do the right thing,” Anderson said.
Inside the court
Malcolm Fraser entered the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center Courtroom 4C at 8:45 a.m. through the jail door dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit with handcuffs connected to a waist shackle.
The judge entered a few minutes later and the hearing began.
A number of those in attendance and Fraser were allowed to speak before sentencing.
The first to speak was Melanie Thomas, for the family of the young woman. She read a letter thanking the prosecutors, court and supporters.
She stated the family’s only concern in terms of the sentence was, “…the court please take into account the harassment Malcolm Fraser put our family, Jason Simmons, Detective Grant McCall and many others through during the entire duration of this case, using his Enumclaw.com website.”
The family asked Fraser’s sentencing “include restrictions on what can be published about the victim and her family by Enumclaw.com.”
The letter noted Fraser was previously listed as administrative and technical contact, but that has been changed to Timothy Williams, the founder of Sound Doctrine.
Fraser’s wife, Julie, who is deaf, spoke through an American Sign Language interpreter. Julie Fraser was crying and said, “I still believe my husband is innocent.”
She asked for the minimum sentence and the no contact order with any minor be lifted so he could have contact with children from the church with parent’s supervision.
Sound Doctrine Members
Four members of Sound Doctrine spoke in support of Fraser, asking for a minimum sentence.
Sharon George, who testified during the trial, said she has known Fraser for 12 years. She asked for the “lowest sentence” and alleged, “this whole entire thing has been a witch hunt against our church and a hate crime against our church.”
Karla Cochran said Fraser is a “good man and I know that he is innocent.”
She also said she wanted to “stand up for people defending innocence when your local newspaper (The Courier-Herald) will not listen.”
She said, “There is a lot of pain here and lot of people using other people against Malcolm and against our church.”
Abigail Davidson said Fraser and his wife lived with her and her children for five years and was like an “uncle” to her children.
She said the church’s website, Enumclaw.com, “has done nothing but try to defend the character of Malcolm and our church, (it is) not trying to defame anybody.”
Defense Attorney Ann Carey’s said, the “minimum sentence is in no way minimum. It is severe. What it does is give the ISRB (Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board) the maximum discretion in determining Mr. Fraser’s release.”
She asked for the minimum on each count and for the sentences to run concurrently.
Fraser was last to address the court before sentencing. He spoke for about 20 minutes.
He had addressed the court for the first time July 23 during the “motion to arrest judgement” hearing, which was denied by Smith. The motion asked for the judge to overturn the verdict and acquit Fraser.
During the sentencing hearing Friday, Fraser once again said he was innocent.
He said the sentence of 20 or 26 years “doesn’t make a whole lot of difference” because he would be separated from his wife, church and, “My mom (Carla Williams) for the last 11 years is currently dying of a terminal brain tumor, which was directly brought about by the slander and lies directed at our church and part of this case.”
He did refer to the Enumclaw.com issue, stating he did register the domain name and that “our church has many domain names.”
He said the contacts were changed to Timothy Williams when he (Fraser) was charged. He denied involvement with Enumclaw.com during the case.
During the trial, the prosecutor brought out Fraser and his wife lived with two members of Enumclaw.com who attended much of the trial as members of the media.
Fraser said, “I don’t think anything on Enumclaw.com has been printed… has been false that I am aware of.”
Fraser closed by asking the judge to allow him to see the children from Sound Doctrine.
He also told the judge, “If I was in your honor’s position I would resign rather than do something I knew to be wrong.”
The judge said she considered all the letters, briefs and testimony connected to the case “long and thoughtfully.”
She described the crime as a “very emotionally charged crime. It is a crime that is a breach of trust ….”
In imposing her sentence the judge said, “The hope of the court always in sentencing someone is that it is not simply punishment but associated with that is the opportunity and hopefully the end result is there is some sort of rehabilitation. The fact the defendant has a whole network of people who love, trust and believe in him will be helpful in the future, the court hopes.”
Fraser has 30 days to file an appeal.