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Actor enters guilty plea to assault in sex case

EVERETT, Washington – Television and motion-picture actor Scott Hamilton Bairstow, accused of having sex with a 12-year-old Mukilteo girl, entered an Alford plea to a second-degree assault charge yesterday in Snohomish County Superior Court before turning himself in to jail officials.

An Alford plea means a defendant doesn’t acknowledge guilt but concedes a jury would likely find him guilty. Bairstow, 33, will not be required to register as a sex offender, but his Alford plea was to a type of felony assault committed with the intent of molestation, said his lawyer Mark Mestel.

Bairstow – best known for roles in television’s “Party of Five” and the motion pictures “The Postman” and “White Fang II: Myth of the White Wolf” – faces between three and nine months in jail when he is sentenced Jan. 16. He surrendered at the Snohomish County Jail last night to begin serving time so he could get some of it out of the way before sentencing, Mestel said.

“It’s always a gamble to go to trial,” Mestel said, adding that his client maintains he is innocent. “We’re hoping that because of the way this is being resolved he’ll be able to resurrect his career and his life.”

Bairstow, who used to live in Mukilteo, was charged with second-degree child rape in May after allegedly having sex with the girl between January and October 1998 when she was 12. The sexual relationship continued until summer 2001, according to charging papers.

Charging documents say Bairstow repeatedly told the girl that if she told anyone about their relationship, he would lose his family. He also made the comments during a police-taped telephone conversation, documents allege.

Mestel said Bairstow could have faced up to seven years in prison had he gone to trial.

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