A Birch Bay man was booked into Whatcom County Jail June 1 on suspicion of first-degree child molestation and failing to register as a sex offender for previous charges.
Birch Bay resident Anthony Javier Lopez, 43, turned himself into Whatcom County Jail on June 1 after probable cause existed for him to be charged with sexually abusing a preteen in 2019 as well as failing to register himself as a sex offender at Bellingham Technical College. In 2009, Lopez was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of two counts of second-degree child molestation charges in Whatcom County.
Lopez was released on $25,000 bail on June 1, according to jail records.
A survivor told Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) deputies during a May 19 interview that Lopez sexually assaulted her when she was either 11 or 12 years old in 2019, according to the affidavit of probable cause (APC). The survivor said she didn’t give consent and Lopez, who was driving the survivor home, pressured her so she gave in. Lopez asked the survivor to not tell anyone and she told the law enforcement officer that she tried to forget what happened in fear that no one would believe her, according to the APC. Lopez continued to stay in touch with the preteen through Facebook Messenger.
On May 24, a WCSO deputy visited Lopez’s Birch Bay home for his yearly check that is required because he is a registered sex offender. Lopez told officers he left work at the Intalco smelter in Ferndale and enrolled in spring courses at Bellingham Technical College. Under Washington state law, Lopez is required to notify WCSO within three business days of enrolling in public higher education. WCSO deputies verified with Bellingham Technical College that Lopez had not notified the institution of his status.
Lopez denied to officers that he sexually assaulted the preteen and said he didn’t think it was odd for him to communicate with the girl through Facebook Messenger, according to the APC. WCSO deputies found probable cause to arrest Lopez on first-degree child molestation charges. A WCSO deputy contacted Lopez on May 26 and told him he had until June 1 to turn himself into Whatcom County Jail, which he did. Lopez’s arraignment was June 17.
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic or sexual violence, please call the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services 24-hour hotline at 360/715-1563 or 877/715-1563. Lummi Victims of Crime has a 24-hour helpline at 360/312-2015.
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