Ferndale officer charged with attempted child molestation

July 29, 2022 GMT

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A Ferndale police officer was charged Thursday with attempted child molestation.

Michael Scott Langton, 46, was charged in Whatcom County Superior Court with one count of attempted second-degree child molestation, a felony. Langton made his first appearance in person in court Thursday, the Bellingham Herald reported.

Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ben Pratt asked the court to set Langton’s bail at $100,000. Pratt said the bail amount requested reflected the underlying allegations.

Pratt said law enforcement was searching Langton’s electronic devices and additional charges or a request to amend Langton’s bail amount may happen in the future.

Langton’s lawyer, Emily Beschen, said he has been an upstanding citizen and law enforcement officer for nearly 20 years and has no criminal history, so should be released. Beschen said Langton owns his Blaine home and would surrender his passport to assure he’ll reappear in court.

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Pratt also said there are allegations that once Langton became aware he was being placed on leave, law enforcement saw Langton start a fire and burn some documents. One of Langton’s phones seized by law enforcement was also factory reset before it was seized, he said.

“We are concerned that there was some potential evidence destruction,” Pratt said. “Those two facts cause us great concern.”

Langston’s bail was set at $40,000. An anti-harassment order was put in place between Langton and the victim’s mother and a sexual assault protection order was put in place for the minor child.

He was also required to surrender his weapons to Bellingham police. Langton’s arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 5 if he’s in custody, or Aug. 12 if he’s out of custody.

Langton, who has been with the Ferndale Police Department since 2012, was arrested Tuesday at his home and placed on paid administrative leave.