LONG BEACH Via his attorney, Cristine Beckwith of Seattle, state Sen. Brian Hatfield released the following statement Wednesday afternoon concerning his sons conviction on child rape and molestation charges. The initials B.A.H. refer to Hatfields son.
Bechwith asserts Brian Hatfield was under no legal obligation to report the crimes to authorities.
The Hatfield family has been asked to respond regarding Senator Brian Hatfield's son being accused of criminal offenses. Senator Hatfield was told by his wife that she had witnessed some inappropriate behavior by his son B.A.H. towards the end of February 2013. In abundance of caution, Senator Hatfield called our office for a consultation for his son to see what the best course of action would be.
I privately interviewed B.A.H. in a conversation that is and was protected by attorney/client privilege. That information was never disclosed to Senator Hatfield or his wife. There was never any information that was disclosed to Senator Hatfield that would trigger a legal requirement for him to report any conduct to legal authorities.
Upon my advice, Senator Hatfield changed his supervision plan for his son and was in the process of setting up appropriate counseling at my direction. When those things were in place it was the intention of B.A.H. to turn himself in to the proper authorities to address the underlying criminal offenses. Prior to being able to do that there was a report to law enforcement, and B.A.H. turned himself in to law enforcement without incident.
B.A.H. is a minor and no different than any other juvenile offender other than his father being an elected official. The Hatfield family hopes that B.A.H. will be treated fairly and justly under the law, and not given a more severe penalty than other similarly situated juvenile offenders. Because all the parties that are involved in this case are minors, the families are hoping that the media respects the unique nature of juvenile crimes. The purpose of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate offenders so that they can go on to be productive law abiding adult citizens.
B.A.H., has had several catastrophic loses including his mother dying at a young age. His extremely difficult childhood is a contributing factor in this case, and is not an uncommon history of other juvenile offenders. The family hopes that the media will be cautious in the printing and disseminating the names of juveniles that ultimately may have the opportunity for the sealing of the criminal record in the future. Every measure is being taken to ensure that this matter is dealt with in an appropriate and thoughtful manner for all involved parties.