By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — The former girlfriend of a prolific child rapist and pornographer is headed to prison for nearly 7½ years after she flunked out of sex offender treatment and failed numerous lie detector tests.
In November, Caitlin Ferry begged Snohomish County Superior Court Judge David Kurtz not to send her to prison for posing in sexually explicit photographs with an elementary school-aged boy.
On Thursday, Ferry pleaded with Kurtz again, saying she was sorry she jeopardized the opportunity he had given her to get treatment instead of going to prison.
“I screwed up. I’m really sorry. I want to come out of this a success story, not a failure,” Ferry said.
But Kurtz on Thursday read back what the convicted sex offender had said to him last fall, including her promise to do “whatever it takes.”
He also reminded her what he had vowed to do if Ferry squandered her opportunity.
“‘This court will be prepared to hold her accountable,’” Kurtz read from a transcript of the earlier court hearing.
Ferry was arrested last year as part of what some detectives called one of the worst child sex abuse cases in recent county history. Two young girls reported being sexually abused by their babysitter, Enrique Sanchez-Leon. Snohomish detectives uncovered tens of thousands of disturbing images that documented his sexual abuse of several children, some as young as 3. Sanchez-Leon was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Ferry, 24, was arrested after investigators found sexually explicit pictures of her and a 7-year-old boy on the Snohomish man’s computers. She later pleaded guilty to first-degree child molestation and sexual exploitation of a minor.
The Sultan woman last year convinced Kurtz to grant her a Special Offender Sentencing Alternative. Her attorney had told the judge that Ferry had developmental disabilities, including a lower-than-average IQ. He also said she had the support of her family. Her relatives testified that Ferry was easily manipulated. They vowed to help her succeed in treatment.
Under the sentencing alternative, Ferry agreed to engage in sex offender treatment for three years and abide by all the rules set by her community corrections officer, including taking polygraphs. If she followed the rules, Ferry would avoid going to prison.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors did not oppose the alternative sentence. An evaluator concluded that Ferry was amenable to treatment and represented a low-to-moderate risk to the community’s safety. Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Adam Cornell also wanted to spare her victim the trauma of having to testify at trial. The boy’s social worker concluded that being asked to recount the abuse would be detrimental to the child’s healing.
Cornell, however, recently filed a petition to revoke Ferry’s special sentence. It was a move supported by the woman’s community corrections officer.
“I think she’s a serious risk to the community,” officer Mary Rehberg said. “It’s time she is revoked. She’s had plenty of time to be honest.”
Ferry was kicked out of sex offender treatment in late July for failing to follow the rules. She had been warned in mid-June that she was at risk for being terminated because she wasn’t doing the work. Also in July Ferry flunked another lie detector test. Kurtz was told Thursday that Ferry had only passed one of seven polygraphs.
None of the violations alleged that Ferry had inappropriate contact with children.
Instead, she lied about her sexual activities with men. Ferry was forbidden from having sexual contact with people unless she received permission from her treatment provider. When confronted with the results of the lie detector test, Ferry reluctantly admitted she had sex with a man in a tent outside her parents’ home. She also said she had sex with a different man in a vehicle outside an abandoned building in Lake Stevens. She never reported the sexual encounters to her treatment provider or community corrections officer.
Ferry also exchanged phone numbers with men in a class she takes through the state Department of Corrections. She also had been using the Internet to chat with strangers, including one man who has a young son, court papers said. One man had sent her a sexually explicit video.
There is no way to get Ferry help if she refuses to be honest, Rehberg said.
On Thursday, Ferry’s mom told the judge that her daughter isn’t a risk to anyone but herself. She said her daughter has rounded a corner since her most recent arrest. She finally understands that she has to follow the rules even if she doesn’t agree with them, the woman said.
This wasn’t the first time Ferry failed to follow the rules.
While she was awaiting trial, Ferry was ordered to stay away from children. She was jailed after investigators found her working at “kiddie land” at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe.
Kurtz on Thursday sentenced Ferry to nearly 7½ years in prison. Once she serves her time, she will have to convince the state’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board that she isn’t a danger to commit other sex crimes. She also will be under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections for the rest of her life. She will be required to register as a sex offender.
Ferry was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs and tears.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.