While out of jail and awaiting trial on child rape charges for sexually assaulting a girl known to him, a Seabeck man was soliciting sex and explicit photos from another underage girl, this one he met online.
Matthew Charles Mittlestadt, 32, pleaded guilty to charges in both cases and was sentenced in May to 10 years in prison. He will have to register as a sex offender upon his release.
Charges were filed in the first case in December 2019, and after pleading not guilty, Mittlestadt was released from the Kitsap County Jail on bail.
That case, investigated by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, came to the attention of law enforcement officers when Mittlestadt's former girlfriend reported she found text messages on his phone “bragging” to another man about having sex with an underage girl.
Detectives tracked down the girl, who said for several years she would sneak out of her house to meet Mittlestadt starting when she was about 12 or 13, making Mittlestadt about 23 or 24.
As that case was pending in Kitsap County Superior Court, Washington State Patrol detectives in Pierce County began investigating allegations of a man soliciting sex and explicit photos from a 13-year-old girl and were led to Mittlestadt, who was 32.
That tip came from a man unrelated to the cases who reported to law enforcement that he had been communicating online with a man who was talking about wanting to have sex with an underage girl. The tipster told investigators he was worried the person would carry through with his plans.
When investigators went to arrest Mittlestadt for the second case, his wife — a different woman from the one who had turned him in for the first case — said she knew about the pending case, “so when she got upset with him over something she would sometimes become physically violent with Mittlestadt and would call him a pedophile,” investigators wrote in court documents.
Family members of the girl from the first case wrote in court documents that she had suffered trauma from Mittlestadt and they felt guilty for not protecting her.
“She is facing a tough life ahead of her because of the abuse she experienced with Matt,” a family member wrote.
In a written statement provided to state Department of Corrections interviewers, Mittlestadt provided his version of events, claiming the girl at first manipulated and later coerced him to have sex, though he knew it was wrong.
A Corrections interviewer noted in court documents these statements made it sound like "blame was being placed on the victim and not Mittlestadt himself."
Mittlestadt wrote that while out on bail for that case he began conversing on social media with men interested in having sex with minors, which led him to the girl from Pierce County. Mittlestadt was not accused of having physical contact with this girl.
“Like an addict, I used again,” Mittlestadt wrote.
He later added he was grateful he got caught before he could victimize another minor.
“I can’t believe I thought it was OK to do all that. I felt like I was invisible and anonymous. I didn’t think anybody would find out my dark secret,” Mittlestadt wrote.
For the first case, Mittlestadt pleaded guilty to three counts of third-degree rape of a child.
For the second case, Mittlestadt pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree dealing in depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Jennifer Forbes sentenced Mittlestadt to 120 months in prison in May, but he remained in the Kitsap County Jail until this week awaiting resolution of a misdemeanor case in Kitsap County District Court.
In that case, Mittlestadt was charged with fourth-degree assault and interfering with a report of domestic violence. This case stemmed from the incident in October 2019 when Mittlestadt’s then-girlfriend reported to deputies that she found “disturbing things” on his phone and told him she was going to call 911. Prosecutors dismissed those charges last month.
This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Seabeck man pursued girl while awaiting trial for child rape