Judge tosses Bainbridge pool molestation case

The case against a Bainbridge man who allegedly undressed a girl in a Bainbridge Aquatics Center bathroom was thrown out by a Superior Court Judge.

Read Josh Farley’s story below…

Judge Throws Out Sex Case Against Bainbridge Man
By Josh Farley

Citing insufficient evidence, a Kitsap County Superior Court judge has thrown out a sex case against a Bainbridge man who faced a 25-year minimum sentence had he been convicted.

Michael J. Gaffney, 44, was arrested by police for walking into a public bathroom at the island’s Madison Avenue aquatic center with a 4-year-old girl he did not know. He was eventually charged with child molestation, but Judge M. Karlynn Haberly dismissed the case on Monday.

Deputy prosecutor Kevin Cure said his office will be appealing Haberly’s ruling to the Tacoma-based Division II Court of Appeals.

The case was believed to be the first one charged in the county that prosecutors used a predatory enhancement — approved by the Legislature in 2006 — that mandated a 25-year sentence for a conviction.

Gaffney was accused by police of going into the bathroom, near the aquatic center’s lobby, taking off the girl’s bathing suit and observing her use the restroom. The girl’s mother, thinking she’d been in the facility too long, eventually entered and encountered Gaffney, who “froze” and then left, police said.

Cure said the child told inconsistent versions of the incident and couldn’t be called upon to testify in a trial.

Gaffney’s attorney, David Rovang, eventually filed a motion asking Haberly to dismiss the case. He was not available for comment Wednesday.