Jury trial set to begin in Port Townsend on Monday in child rape case

Port Townsend man also charged with child molestation

PORT TOWNSEND — A jury trial is scheduled to begin Monday in Jefferson County Superior Court for a Port Townsend man charged with two counts of first-degree rape of a child.

Nathaniel Thomas Caylor, 39, also is charged with first-degree child molestation.

The charges stem from three separate incidents that involved a 9-year-old girl.

All three crimes are Class A felonies punishable by a maximum of life in prison and/or a $50,000 fine. Each would be considered a strike under Washington’s three-strikes law that, if convicted, requires a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Caylor pleaded not guilty to all three charges at his arraignment hearing last March.

Judge Keith Harper said Friday he expected 90 potential jurors to be called — about twice the number of a typical pool — because of the nature of the proceedings.

Jury selection and opening arguments are scheduled for Monday at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St., Port Townsend.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Julie St. Marie will present the state’s case later this week, and Scott Charlton of Jefferson Associated Counsel will present the case for the defense.

The girl, who reported the sexual contact to her mother and her mother’s fiance last January, said she was 8 the first time it occurred in early 2018.

Court documents said Caylor is a family friend who had been asked to babysit the girl on at least one occasion at Caylor’s house. The girl is friends with Caylor’s 10-year-old son, the documents stated.

The girl reportedly became friends with a 12-year-old girl in September 2018 after they met at the Port Townsend Skatepark. That fall, the girl told her friend about the incidents.

While the two girls were on the phone last January, the girl’s friend convinced her to tell her parents.

The girl later told Port Townsend Police Officer Jeremy Vergin that Caylor had grabbed her chest in one incident, performed oral sex on her twice and forced her to perform oral sex on him in a separate occurrence, according to the probable cause statement.

The girl said she believed Caylor was drunk on two of the occasions and that he may have been sleeping or thought she was Caylor’s girlfriend, according to court documents.

The girl’s mother and her mother’s fiance are expected to testify that the girl seemed scared to tell them what happened, according to court documents.

Harper ruled Jan. 8 that the girl’s statements will be admissible during the trial, siding with St. Marie following an evidentiary hearing last month.

St. Marie cited the girl’s availability at trial and argued that the time, content and circumstances of the girl’s statements provide sufficient indications of reliability.

In his ruling, Harper went over the bullet points St. Marie needed to prove and concluded the girl has no motive to lie, that her statements were consistent at different times with different people, and that Vergin asked her open-ended questions that didn’t lead her in one particular direction when he was investigating.

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Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at bmclean@peninsuladailynews.com.

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