Ferndale officer charged with attempted child molestation

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A Ferndale police officer was charged Thursday with attempted child molestation.

Michael Scott Langton, 46, was charged in Whatcom County Superior Court with one count of attempted second-degree child molestation, a felony. Langton made his first in-person appearance in court on Thursday, the Bellingham Herald reported.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Ben Pratt asked the court to set Langton’s bond at $100,000. Pratt said the amount of bail requested reflected the underlying allegations.

Pratt said law enforcement is searching Langton’s electronic devices and that additional charges or a request to change the amount of Langton’s bail may arise in the future.

Langton’s attorney, Emily Beschen, said he had been an upstanding citizen and law enforcement officer for nearly 20 years and had no criminal history and should therefore be released. Beschen said Langton owned his home in Blaine and would hand over his passport to ensure he reappeared in court.

Pratt also said there were allegations that once Langton became aware he was being furloughed, law enforcement saw Langton start a fire and burn documents. One of Langton’s phones seized by law enforcement was also factory reset before being seized, he said.

“We are concerned that there has been potential destruction of evidence,” Pratt said. “These two facts are of great concern to us.”

Langston’s bail was set at $40,000. An anti-harassment order was put in place between Langton and the victim’s mother and a sexual assault protection order was put in place for the minor child.

He also had to surrender his weapons to Bellingham police. Langton’s arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 5 if he is in custody, or Aug. 12 if he is not in custody.

Langton, who has been with the Ferndale Police Department since 2012, was arrested at his home on Tuesday and placed on paid administrative leave.

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