Port Townsend man sentenced to 10 years for stalking woman while in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — A Port Townsend man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison — the statutory maximum — for stalking a woman while in Port Angeles, prosecutors said.

Fraser M. Rotchford, 37, was sentenced Wednesday after an August bench trial in Clallam County Superior Court.

He was convicted of single counts of felony stalking in violation of a protection order and felony cyberstalking for crimes that occurred while he was staying in a Port Angeles motel in January and February 2017, court papers said.

After hearing a victim impact statement, Judge Brent Basden sentenced Rotchford to the statutory maximum of 10 years, prosecutors said. The standard sentencing range was 13 to 17 months.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy, who tried the case as a special deputy with Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steve Johnson, said Rotchford had multiple victims in the Port Townsend area.

“I know that this means a lot to a lot of people in this county and the North Olympic Peninsula,” Kennedy said in a Thursday interview.

“He had a lot of victims. It wasn’t just this one.”

The Port Townsend victim for whom Rotchford was convicted of stalking was forced to close her small business and move to the East Coast, Kennedy said.

“She testified that the defendant used to wait outside her business, would repeatedly call her, write her letters, contact her on social media and follow her around town,” Kennedy said.

The charges at trial focused on communications that Rotchford had with the victim while he was staying at the Port Angeles Holiday Lodge in early 2017.

The case was investigated by Port Angeles and Port Townsend police.

“The communications identified the town that the victim had moved to, alluded to violence against the victim and discussed a myriad of bizarre and lewd acts,” Kennedy said.

“At trial, as part of an aggravator alleged by the state, three other victims presented testimony about how the defendant had stalked them in a similar manner over the past 10-plus years.”

The victim had an anti-harassment, no-contact order against Rotchford when the crimes occurred, Port Angeles Police Officer Trevor Dropp said in the affidavit for probable cause.

Rotchford, who represented himself at trial, made “frequent outbursts and disruptions” in court, Kennedy said.

“During cross examination the defendant asked his victims questions regarding their personal lives, even telling one that he loved her,” Kennedy said.

Based on Rotchford’s criminal history, which included multiple no-contact order violations and a prior stalking conviction, prosecutors requested an exceptional sentence of eight years in prison and two years probation.

Kennedy, who worked as a Clallam County deputy prosecutor before he was elected Jefferson County prosecuting attorney last November, said he had been tracking the Rotchford case since the allegations surfaced years ago.

“I knew how serious this case was,” Kennedy said in a telephone interview.

“After I went back to Jefferson County, I wanted to keep this case because I knew how important this case was to Jefferson County and the victims.”

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

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