Forks man sentenced to four years for child pornography

PORT ANGELES — A Forks man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for possessing child pornography.

William Otis Crippen was sentenced Tuesday to 53½ months after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced.

The 59-year-old will serve three years of community custody after his release.

Forks police said they found a stack of what appeared to be child porn when they responded to an alarm at Crippen’s residence in February 2015, according to the affidavit for probable cause.

A subsequent search of the residence resulted in the discovery of thousands of images of prepubescent female children in various states of undress, prosecutors said.

Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols said Forks police were “prompt and aggressive” after spotting the child porn.

”Prosecution of crimes against children is a high priority with this office,” Nichols added in a news release.

Forks police entered Crippen’s Elderberry Avenue residence through an open window to investigate the alarm at about 4:25 a.m. Feb. 1, 2015, court papers said.

While inside the unoccupied home, Officer Brent Kempster said he saw several stack of pictures that he believed to be child pornography in plain view in the main bedroom, according to the arrest report.

Police returned to the residence to investigate the suspected pornography Feb. 8. Crippen consented to the search, police said.

Police obtained search warrants and seized 91,602 printed and digital images of child and adult porn, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Crippen was originally charged in Clallam County Superior Court with five counts of first-degree possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and seven counts of second-degree possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

He was released from the county jail on his personal recognizance despite a $25,000 bail request by the prosecutor’s office.

Last January, defense attorney John Hayden of Clallam Public Defender filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized by law enforcement.

Hayden argued that the initial entry into Crippen’s home was not justified under the emergency or exigency exemption to the warrant requirement. He said the state could not prove that Crippen knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently consented to a search of his home, according to the Jan. 4 motion.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin countered in a Jan. 19 court filing that the original entry was done in accordance with law, that law enforcement appropriately advised Crippen of his rights and that Crippen signed a consent-to-search form.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Christopher Melly denied the motion to suppress the seized evidence and another motion to reconsider.

Six of the seven second-degree possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct were dismissed in February.

Two first-degree possession-of-child-porn charges — and the remaining second-degree count — were dismissed last week as part of the negotiated plea agreement.

In addition to the prison sentence and community custody, Crippen was ordered to undergo treatment for sexual conduct and to pay $1,300 in fees, court papers said.

Crippen was being held Friday at the Washington Corrections Center near Shelton.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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