Michael Joseph Basse Child Sexual Abuse Charges: What We Know So Far
On April 21, 2023, 59-year-old Michael Joseph Basse was arrested on multiple counts of child sexual abuse and child molestation that spanned from 2007-2022. Basse worked as a substitute teacher for the University Place School District. He also worked as a youth baseball coach in the region, a jiujitsu instructor in Tacoma, and volunteered at multiple University Place School District schools through the local PTA.
The team at Cochran Douglas is serving as victims’ rights advocates in this sexual abuse and assault case and investigating multiple claims. Our Tacoma, WA, law firm would like to cover the facts known about Basse and his crimes as the story is unfolding. We hope that sharing this information with the community will encourage other victims or witnesses to come forward.
The Current Facts of the Case
The Pierce County Prosecutor's Office has charged Michael Basse (who also goes by Mike Basse) with eight counts of child rape and five counts of child molestation. Basse’s victims were between the ages of 9 and 15.
Basse used his proximity to children to groom victims. He would sometimes use alcohol to intoxicate children before assaulting them. Basse would also use his military background and trips to shooting ranges to intimidate children into silence.
Basse is currently in custody on a $250,000 bond.
Sexual Abuse and Assault Survivors Come Forward
In October 2022, one of the first victims to come forward reported an encounter with Basse in a parking lot at the University of Puget Sound to local authorities. This was the first of multiple instances of sexual abuse involving Basse and this victim.
Authorities located a second victim, who was only nine years old at the time of the first instance of sexual abuse. As with the first victim to come forward, this victim was abused multiple times.
Other survivors would recount their incidents to authorities in the months that followed. Among them was the brother of the initial victim who came forward.
Employment and Termination by the University Place School District
According to a report from King 5 News, the University Place School District terminated Basse in 2016 because of multiple complaints against him for making inappropriate comments about children. Basse was also accused of sending students inappropriate messages.
King 5 News also notes that the school district and police conducted an investigation into Basse’s behavior. At the time of his employment with the school district, there were no reported incidents of sexual abuse or inappropriate physical contact.
Employment and Termination by Tenchikan Dojo
KOMO 4 News also reported that Basse assaulted victims at the Tenchikan Dojo in Tacoma where he was employed as an instructor. As of this writing, prosecutors do not believe that any of the victims were martial arts students at the dojo.
Basse was released by Tenchikan Dojo in 2016. An employee of the dojo told KOMO 4 News that to their knowledge, no dojo students complained about inappropriate behavior while Basse was employed.
Will More Victims or Witnesses Come Forward?
KOMO 4 News noted that additional victims are being interviewed by detectives, with additional charges expected. We may not know the full extent of Basse’s crimes for some time.
If Michael Basse abused you or someone you know, we encourage you to contact the authorities. For anyone seeking a victims’ rights advocate against Michael Basse, our Tacoma trial lawyers can provide assistance.
Statute of Limitations for Child Molestation, Rape, and Sexual Abuse
In Washington, there is no time limit on when criminal charges can be brought forward for the rape of a child or child molestation.
There is a statute of limitations for suing the perpetrator of child sexual abuse or an institution that failed to protect children from sexual abuse. Washington state law has a three-year statute of limitations for civil cases involving child sexual abuse. That means the civil case must be filed within three years of the incident or within three years of the incident being discovered.
Potential Changes to the Statute of Limitations
House Bill 1618 may eliminate the statute of limitations for civil trials for child sexual abuse in Washington. This bill has yet to be signed into law, yet has a great deal of support from survivors of abuse. King 5 News had a powerful report in February 2023 on HB 1618 and the lifelong effects of trauma for sexual abuse survivors.
As of this writing, HB 1618 was approved by the Washington State House of Representatives but has stalled in the State Senate.
Our Attorneys Can Help Survivors and Witnesses
The legal team at Cochran Douglas has a long record of favorable verdicts and settlements in child sexual assault and abuse cases. This includes lawsuits involving school districts. Notable cases include:
- $3.25 million sexual abuse settlement against the state of Washington for failing to investigate child abuse and neglect allegations
- $1 million sexual abuse settlement against Clover Park School District for their failure to protect a special needs student from a known child predator
- $500,000 trial verdict against the Bethel School District for failing to protect a cognitively disabled child from sexual abuse and harassment
- $210,000 settlement against the Tacoma School District for sexual abuse by a teacher
You can count on us to hold institutions accountable for failing to protect you or your child.
Our Lawyers Are Here for You
Attorneys Loren Cochran and Cole Douglas approach every case with compassion and understanding. Whether you’re a survivor of sexual assault or the parent or guardian of a child who was sexually abused, we will be here to listen to you and provide insight into your legal options.
Legal consultations with our trial lawyers are free, and there is no retainer fee if we take your case. We don’t get paid unless your case is successful.
If a school district or other organization was negligent in protecting you or your family from harm, we will help you seek damages to address the trauma and hardships experienced.
Need to Speak with an Advocate for Victims?
Contact Our Law Firm
Cochran Douglas will continue to provide updates on our blog as new details on this case become available. If you would like to discuss the case further with our legal team, contact our Tacoma civil trial lawyers today.
About Loren A. Cochran
Attorney Loren A. Cochran has practiced law since 2002. A former production counsel for America’s Most Wanted, he is a member of the Washington State Association for Justice and the King County Bar Association.
About Cole Douglas
Attorney Nicholas "Cole" Douglas has practiced law since 2015. A founding partner at Cochran Douglas, PLLC, he previously served as the president of the Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association's New and Young Lawyer Board.