PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday in what prosecutors say is Clallam County’s first sex trafficking sentence.
Patrick Callahan, 62, was sentenced to 20 years in prison following a jury trial last fall in which he was found guilty of four crimes: first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor, second-degree sexual misconduct, third-degree rape of a child, and second-degree human trafficking with sexual motivation.
The Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s office initially sought a 26-year sentence, while the defense asked for 15 years, citing Callahan’s age, medical history and lack of previous criminal record, and community contributions.
Defense attorney Karen Unger argued for striking the trafficking charge since no money was ever exchanged for the woman’s care while she was a minor.
Deputy prosecuting attorney Matthew Roberson argued that the woman was coerced into living with and moving with Callahan and was forced to perform sexual acts in exchange for remaining in the home.
Superior Court Judge Brent Basden said that a 20-year sentence suited the nature of the crimes committed without imposing the maximum penalty of a life sentence.
On Oct. 24, 2021, officers with the Port Angeles Police Department (PAPD) investigated a call alleging a sexual assault had occurred the previous evening. The woman said that Callahan had forced her to perform a sexual act and that this was a common situation that had been occurring for nearly 10 years.
The woman, who was a minor when the majority of the assaults occurred, had lived with Callahan and his family since she was 9 years old, which included moving with the family from California to Port Angeles.
According to case documents, the woman’s family had fallen on hard times due to medical costs and at one point was homeless. The woman was friends with Callahan’s children and Callahan and his wife had offered to take care of her to provide stability while her family found another home.
It was during this time, while the woman and Callahan still lived in California that the assaults began and would become more frequent when she moved with Callahan to Port Angeles.
The woman told investigators that the assaults began when she had nightmares and would go into Callahan’s room for comfort. The assaults became more frequent and would occur whenever she was alone with Callahan, she said.
She said that she was afraid to come forward about what was happening because Callahan would threaten to send her back to her family in California and she thought she would lose the stability she had experienced living with Callahan and his family.
In an interview with PAPD detectives, the woman said that while she was provided with stability while living with Callahan, she was under much more strict rules than Callahan’s own children.
The woman said she was not allowed to go anywhere without Callahan or his daughter present, she was not allowed to date when she became a teen and was required to do more chores and housework than the other children.
She said she felt obligated to be a ”good child” in order to stay in the Callahan home.
The woman also said that Callahan would control when she could talk to her family in California and what she could say so as not to raise suspicion. She said that he was completely aware that even though the family had been able to find a new home they did not have the financial means to bring her home and he would coerce her into telling them she didn’t want to go home.
Subsequent interviews with her family by PAPD revealed that there were times when they didn’t hear from her for weeks and when they did she would sound withdrawn or upset.
Her family said that they became aware of the abuse just a few days before she reported it to PAPD.
As previously stated this interview provided probable cause to charge Callahan with second-degree sex trafficking.
According to the RCW 9A.40.100 “A person is guilty of trafficking in the second degree when such a person: Recruits, harbors, transports, transfers, provides, obtains, buys, purchases, or receives by any means another person knowing, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that force, fraud, or coercion as defined in RCW 9A.36.070 will be used to cause the person to engage in forced labor, involuntary servitude, a sexually explicit act, or a commercial sex act, or that the person has not attained the age of eighteen years and is caused to engage in a sexually explicit act or a commercial sex act; or benefits financially or by receiving anything of value from participation in a venture that has engaged in acts set forth in of this subsection.”
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.