David Scratchley, the former manager of a Seattle drug-treatment center who was once considered a local expert on addiction, pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted first-degree child molestation and possession of cocaine, admitting he planned to sexually assault a 10-year-old boy in September 2011.
Scratchley, now 53, has been held in the King County Jail on $1 million bail since his arrest on Sept. 1, 2011, jail records show.
The case was getting ready to go to trial, though jury selection had not yet started. Originally charged with attempted first-degree child rape, communication with a minor for immoral purposes and possession of child pornography, Scratchley’s guilty plea “secures a conviction for a felony sex offense and spares the victim from having to testify at trial,” said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are jointly recommending that Scratchley be sentenced to a little more than 4 1/2 years in prison, Donohoe said. But he faces an “indeterminate sentence” because he pleaded guilty to a felony sex crime – and it will be up to the state Indeterminate Sentence Review Board to determine if Scratchley is released or forced to serve additional prison time, up to life.
Should he be released, Scratchley will be required to register as a sex offender for life, and will also be under community supervision for life, according to Donohoe.
Scratchley was arrested at his Belltown apartment after a woman called police and said she feared he was planning to rape a 10-year-old boy, according to charging documents.
Officers found the child inside Scratchley’s apartment building and took him to Harborview Medical Center for an examination, however, there was no evidence that the boy had been sexually assaulted.
At the time, police said the boy told them his mother had allowed him to spend time alone with Scratchley several times. On some of those occasions, Scratchley talked to him about sex, the boy said, according to court records.
The woman who contacted policetold investigators Scratchley had “talked about sexual fantasies that he had about children and told her that he had sexually abused children in the past,” the records say.
Police said the woman “led Scratchley to believe that she was a willing participant in the events he was planning with the victim,” they say.
After calling 911, the woman met police at Scratchley’s apartment building and told officers that the boy was coming down the elevator to meet her, according to the affidavit. Police said they then talked to the boy, who identified Scratchley as a “friend.”
The boy told police that he saw “little white rocks” on the counter of Scratchley’s home that day, and police reported that they found suspected cocaine inside the home.
Scratchley was the clinical manager of the treatment program at the Matt Talbot New Hope Recovery Center in Seattle, an outpatient facility for adults. Police said Scratchley met the 10-year-old boy through his mother while she was somehow connected with the program.