PORT ANGELES — A U.S. Coast Guard petty officer first class has pleaded not guilty to second-degree child rape and first-degree incest.
Brandyn Myles Sampson, 37, a former Port Angeles High School student, entered the plea Friday in Clallam County Superior Court.
The 18-year Coast Guardsman is stationed at Ediz Hook at Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles.
Sampson’s father was stationed in Port Angeles when he was in the Coast Guard, Sampson’s attorney, Karen Unger, said Friday.
At Unger’s urging, Judge Brent Basden reduced Sampson’s bail from $250,000 to $25,000 on condition Sampson stay with his parents in Spokane, observe a post-arraignment protective order preventing him from having contact with the alleged victim and be placed on electronic home monitoring.
Sampson was released on bail Friday. A status hearing is April 23, and a four-day trial is set to begin May 24.
Unger pointed to letters of support for Sampson from a Marine veteran and a Coast Guard chief petty officer.
“He also has his obligations with the Coast Guard,” Unger said.
Referring to divorce proceedings in Snohomish County, Unger said the current allegations against Sampson were “noticeably absent” from those proceedings and that he was granted a standard parenting plan, including weekend visits with his three children, in spite of them.
Unger said it was her understanding that Sampson is on some kind of leave or that the Coast Guard wants to put him on medical leave.
“They want him to participate in a mental health assessment, supposedly having nothing to do with this case,” she said.
The charges filed Jan. 29 include special allegations that Sampson violated his position of trust and took part in an ongoing pattern of abuse of a minor.
The incidents allegedly occurred between May 9, 2018, and May 8, 2019, when the girl was between 12 and 14 years old.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Roberson argued against lowering Sampson’s bail, comparing Sampson to high-profile clients in other sex abuse cases.
“It’s not unusual that individuals charged with this crime or even individuals who down the road that are convicted of these type of crimes, that they have friends, that they have community members who are willing to speak on their behalf,” Roberson said.
“Individuals such as Bill Cosby or Larry Nasser were fine, upstanding individuals in their own industries before ultimately they were charged and ultimately convicted.”
Roberson said there continued to be a likelihood of Sampson committing a violent offense based on an alleged pattern of sexual abuse that started in Hawaii and continued in Washington state in multiple counties.
“These are not allegations that stem from the divorce, at least with respect to the sexual abuse of the survivor,” Roberson added. “These allegations were reported recently.”
Basden said he had “substantially more information” than he had when he set the original bail.
“Clearly the court’s responsibility is to enact the least restrictive means possible to accomplish various purposes,” he said. “One of those purposes is to assure the accused’s appearance.”
Basden said he had more information regarding Sampson’s family ties and support, including an ability to live with his parents. Sampson will not be allowed in the presence of children younger than 18.
“At this point, the court is less concerned about whether Mr. Sampson would have a stable place to live and will report to the court as directed,” Basden said.
He said there is a danger of Sampson committing a violent crime.
“I am less concerned about intimidating a witness or interference with the administration of justice.
“There is a mix of alternatives here that both constitute the least restrictive means to address those concerns.”
Basden said Sampson’s character, as vouched for in the declarations, was irrelevant.
“The issue before the court is specific behavior at a specific time,” Basden said.
“But because of the ability to have Mr. Sampson monitored and adequately protect the interest of the community, that’s why I’ve changed my order.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@ peninsuladailynews.com.