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The Blotter

The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

September 21, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Drug counselor pleads not guilty to attempted child rape

Posted by John de Leon

-- From Times staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan:

David Scratchley, manager of a Seattle drug-treatment center, pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to charges of attempted first-degree child rape and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

Bail for Scratchley, 52, remained at $1 million.

Ramona Brandes, Scratchley's lawyer, said Wednesday that "we are going to be looking carefully at all the evidence and exploring all options to find a resolution that addresses everyone's concerns."

Scratchley's adult son and a friend attended the arraignment. Scratchley's son declined to comment. Superior Court Judge Ronald Kessler forbid Scratchley from having any contact with juveniles and said that the man can only talk to his two underage children if their mother agrees to it.

Scratchley was arrested at his Belltown apartment on Sept,. 1 after a woman called police and said she feared he was planning to rape a 10-year-old boy. Police found the child inside Scratchley's apartment building.

Police said the boy told them he had been allowed to spend time alone with Scratchley several times. On some of these occasions, including on Sept. 1, Scratchley talked to him about sex, the boy said, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case.

The woman who contacted police told investigators Scratchley had "talked about sexual fantasies that he had about children and told her that he had sexually abused children in the past," according to the affidavit.

Scratchley is clinical manager of the treatment program at the Matt Talbot New Hope Recovery Center in Seattle, an outpatient facility for adults. Police said Scratchley met the 10-year-old boy through his mother while she was somehow connected with the program.

Since his arrest, Scratchley's professional history has been called into question and the state Department of Health has launched an investigation.

Scratchley claimed to be a psychologist, but the Department of Health said that was untrue. State law prohibits people from calling themselves psychologists unless they've obtained such a credential from the Department of Health. The only state health license Scratchley holds is as a certified chemical dependency professional trainee, issued in 2009.

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