Saturday, August 28, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Source: Sex offender's print found at rape scene
By Jessica Blanchard
Seattle Times staff reporter
A fingerprint found at the scene of a recent rape in Seattle 's Eastlake neighborhood belongs to a registered sex offender, a source close to the investigation said yesterday.
Police say they're also interested in looking at the Level 3 sex offender, Curtis S. Thompson, 45, in connection with the stabbing death this week of a disabled woman in her apartment in the city's Bryant neighborhood.
Police would not confirm whether Thompson is a suspect in either case, and no arrests have been reported.
"He's someone we'd be interested in," said Seattle police spokesman Scott Moss. "But he's not a suspect."
Thompson, who served more than 17 years in prison for a series of rapes and an attempted rape in 1985, was arrested Monday night in the University District, accused of forcing his way into an apartment building and assaulting two women. He has been charged with 11 felonies in that case and is being held in King County Jail in lieu of $5 million bail.
In the 1985 cases, all in King County , Thompson broke into his victims' homes in the middle of the night and covered their faces while he raped them, according to court documents. In three of them, he threatened the women with a gun or knife, tied them up and demanded drugs and money. In the final rape, Thompson smothered and choked his victim and cut her with a knife.
After being arrested in 1985, Thompson told police his behavior was "out of control" and that he was "afraid that he might kill his next victim," according to court documents.
In the Eastlake rape Aug. 17, police say a man broke into a woman's house late at night and raped her. The woman later told police she was unable to get a good look at her attacker because he had covered her face during the rape.
When she resisted at one point, hitting him with a lamp, her attacker beat her and tied her up with a belt, police said. He then stole her car, which has not been found.
Thompson served his time for the 1985 crimes. Shortly before he was scheduled to be released, prosecutors sought to have hi m c ivilly committed to a secure treatment center for sexual offenders on McNeil Island in Pierce County . Prosecutors said Thompson had a history of sexual sadism dating to his adolescence, still harbored anger toward women and was likely to re-offend.
But Thompson's attorneys argued that he had been a model prisoner and had developed good relationships with several women who worked for the Department of Corrections during the years he was incarcerated.
The jury sided with Thompson, and in October 2003 he was released from prison and began living with his mother in the Bryant neighborhood.
Thompson recently registered at a new address, in the University District, in the 4700 block of Roosevelt Way Northeast , according to the King County Sheriff's Office.
Thompson's mother's home is near the apartment complex where 45-year-old Deborah S. McAfee was found stabbed to death Thursday. Police said she was last seen alive Sunday.
Police also are looking at Thompson in connection with that killing.
"There's no evidence to suggest he's a possible link at this point," Moss said. "But we always look at crime trends in a certain area ... and being that he lives in close proximity, it'll be certainly something we'll explore."
Police are not looking at Thompson in connection with last week's rape north of Green Lake . He was under arrest at the time, Moss said.
Jessica Blanchard: 206-464-3896 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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http://www.king5.com/tops tori es/s tori es/NW_082704WABthompsonKC.bc65aecd.html
Thompson investigated for more rapes
05:22 PM PDT on Friday, August 27, 2004
By LINDA BYRON / KING 5 News
SEATTLE ý A violent sex offender was arrested Monday night for assaulting two women in Seattle 's University District. But now, Curtis Thompson is also the prime suspect in a rape that terrorized the Eastlake neighborhood just 10 days ago.
When a 30-year-old woman was raped inside her Eastlake apartment on August 17 and held for 2 hours by her attacker, police immediately thought of Curtis Thompson.
The convicted serial rapist and Level 3 sex offender wasn't living far away and there were similarities between this case and rapes Thompson had committed back in the 1980s.
Now KING 5 News has learned fingerprints at the scene have come back from the lab and they match Thompson's.
News that police may have solved the case and the suspect is already in jail comes as comforting news to area residents.
"We're glad they found him if indeed it is the right person," said Eastlake resident Nan Woodruff.
Thompson was released from prison just last October, after serving more than 16 years for rape. He was arrested again earlier this week for allegedly attacking two women in a University District apartment building.
A surveillance video shows Thompson following the women into the building.
Thompson is charged with 11 felonies for the attacks ý crimes that could send him away for life.
Meantime, police are still investigating a homicide in the Viewridge neighborhood, not far from Thompson's mother's home where he lived for a time.
The woman's body was discovered Thursday by a friend who'd become concerned because the victim had not answered the phone since Sunday.
Detectives are looking into whether Thompson could be a person of interest.
"We haven't ruled that out, but there's nothing about this scene that particularly identifies any individual, including him," said Capt. Tag Gleason, Seattle Police Dept.
But there's more. Sources close to the police investigation told KING 5 that Thompson is also being investigated for two additional rapes.
He is behind bars at the King County Jail being held on $5 million bail.
Prosecutors tried to have Thompson committed indefinitely after he had served his lengthy prison term, but a jury found him not to be a sexually violent predator and he was released last October.
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http://www.king5.com/tops tori es/s tori es/NW_082604WABsuspiciousdeathKC.b7515e1c.html
Disabled woman found dead in Seattle apartment complex
09:19 AM PDT on Friday, August 27, 2004
The victim lived at a home for the disabled.
SEATTLE ý Police are investigating the suspicious death of a woman in a home for the disabled in the Sandpoint area of Seattle , next to the Ronald McDonald House.
Police say a woman is dead and no tori ous serial rapist Curtis S. Thompson is now the focus of the investigation.
Thompson was arrested last Tuesday. The woman was last seen alive last Sunday.
A friend checked on the disabled woman, who is believed to be in her late 30s or early 40s, after she had not heard from her for several days, and found her dead with severe signs of trauma Thursday afternoon.
Sources told KING 5 that detectives believe Curtis Thompson could be tied to the case.
Convicted of raping four women in the 1980s, Thompson served 16 years in prison and was out last year. But he was arrested again last Tuesday after allegedly assaulting two women in an elevator in the University District.
The home where the woman was found dead Thursday is just blocks away from Thompson's mother's house. That house borders the Burke-Gilman Trail.
Sources close to the investigation say the M.O. here is similar to Thompson's.
Neighbors say the victim was disabled and depended on a wheelchair to get around.
The victim's name has not yet been released.
Thompson is being held on $5 million bail for investigation of robbery, assault, kidnapping and disarming a police officer.
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$5 Million Bail For Curtis Thompson
August 25, 2004
By Tracy Vedder
SEATTLE - A Judge set an extraordinarily high $5 million bail for convicted rapist Curtis Thompson.
Police and prosecutors say Thompson attacked again Monday night in Seattle 's University District.
The judge wouldn't let television cameras videotape Curtis Thompson's face when he walked into the courtroom, but the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Thompson was shackled, and an ultra high security inmate.
His face was emotionless. And the extra King County Jail staff on duty in the jail's courtroom was clearly on high alert.
That's part of the reason Deputy Prosecutor Scott O'Toole asked for an extraordinary $5 million bail: "He presents an extreme dan ger to society and an extreme dan ger - risk of flight."
Two nights ago, a surveillance videotape captured Thompson following two young women into a locked apartment building in the U-District. Police say he assaulted them, punched another tenant, and forced one woman to take her blouse off.
In the tape you can see the woman running outside to get away, and police officers there to arrest Thompson. It took at least five to hold him down.
"Because now he's got little to lose," describes Seattle Police Captain Neil Low of the action that night. "He's likely to go back as a 'three-strike' offender, so for him, getting away is everything and the violence level reflected that."
But Thompson's violent history doesn't begin on the videotape. Eighteen years ago, he was convicted of four rapes and another attempted rape.
"Extraordinarily violent," describes O'Toole, "involving the use of weapons, foreign objects to sexually assault a host of different women."
Captain Low's officers kept tabs on Thompson for the past 11 months. Thompson is a level three sex offender, who prosecutors wanted to keep behind bars as a sexual predator, but a jury decided otherwise.
In the past several months, Thompson moved several times -- always closer to the U-. District. He had trouble keeping a job, and wasn't adjusting well to life outside prison.
"In the outside world, it might have been unsafe for him," says Low. "It wasn't as structured and the wheels fell off the cart for him."
What happened Monday night, prosecutors say, is the result. "Our concern is that these victims feel unsafe; they feel vulnerable, he knows where they live," adds O'Toole. He hopes the high bail gives all the victims some sense of security.
Prosecutors expect to file charges by Thursday, They believe if convicted, it will be enough to put Thompson behind bars for the rest of his life.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Attack suspect is convicted rapist
Sex offender was freed after request to send him to McNeil Island was denied
By HECTOR CASTRO
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
A convicted rapist who last year narrowly avoided being locked away indefinitely as a sexually violent predator heads back to court today, suspected of attacking two women and forcing one to strip.
Curtis Shane Thompson, 45, a level three sex offender, put up a violent struggle with police outside a University District apartment building Monday where the assaults took place, at one point trying to snatch an officer's gun from the holster, police said.
"Who knows what would have happened had he been able to gain control of that officer's gun," police spokesman Scott Moss said yesterday. "It could have been a lot worse."
Thompson was treated at Harborview Medical Center for injuries resulting from the fight, then booked into the King County Jail for investigation of robbery, assault, kidnapping, harassment and disarming a police officer.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer does not usually name suspects before they are charged but is identifying Thompson because of his criminal history, his status as a registered sex offender and the questions raised during his civil commitment hearing.
A bail hearing is set for today, and charges are expected to be filed before the end of the week, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecutor's Office.
"We intend to file the most serious felony charges possible and send him back to prison for a very long time," Donohoe said.
Thompson was well known to police. Because he was a level three sex offender living in Seattle , detectives with the department's Special Assault Unit checked on him regularly, Capt. Neil Low said. State law requires authorities to check on level three sex offenders at least once every 90 days, Low said, but Seattle police checked on Thompson at least once a week.
Just last week, a pair of detectives spent 30 minutes visiting Thompson at his most recent residence, an apartment in the 4700 block of Roosevelt Way Northeast.
According to a police report, Thompson was arrested about 10 p.m. Monday after the women pointed him out to officers.
Police said four women, all in their early 20s, were smoking outside their apartment building at Ninth Avenue Northeast and Northeast 42nd Street when Thompson approached and made small talk.
Two of the women headed home and two others began walking into the building. Thompson followed the two going into the building.
When the women challenged him, saying he didn't live there and needed to leave, he allegedly grabbed one victim's purse and punched her in the eye. The two women ran to the elevator, but he prevented the doors fro m c losing.
A 60-year-old resident who heard screaming came to help, but Thompson slugged him, knocking him to the floor of the elevator, police said.
The women told police that Thompson rifled through the purse he snatched, blocking them from leaving the elevator, and then abruptly ordered one woman to remove her blouse, threatening to "kick her head through the wall" if she did not do as he said.
The woman complied, but when he ordered her to remove more clothing she refused. He had just taken a step toward her when she heard the sound of arriving police and bolted from the elevator.
The women's friends saw what happened at the elevator and called 911. Patrol officers arrived just as the shirtless victim ran yelling from the apartment building with Thompson right behind her.
One officer tried to grab Thompson, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 220 pounds. But Thompson was able to break free and attack another officer, punching that officer several times in the head, police said.
Several officers managed to wrestle Thompson to the ground, where he allegedly tried to yank a police gun from its holster.
But police were able to handcuff him. Medics arrived to treat the two officers and Thompson, who reportedly received more than 20 stitches in his head.
Before being loaded into an ambulance, Thompson threatened a female officer, allegedly saying, "You don't know who I am. I will kill you."
Thompson's history of criminal activity and sexual violence is well documented. He was convicted in 1985 of breaking into the homes of five women between March 1985 and July 1985, raping four of them and attempting a fifth rape.
He used knives and guns in these attacks, slicing one woman's arm from elbow to wrist. In one instance, he indicated he had been watching the woman's home and knew when her husband would be gone. In another, he had worked as a painter in the victim's apartment building.
Thompson usually bound his victims, always threatened to hurt or kill them, and tried to cover their faces with pillows or other bedding.
When Thompson reached the end of his sentence in May 2002, King County prosecutors tried to have him sent to the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island , arguing in court documents that Thompson remained a sexually violent predator
Psychological reports cited in court documents said Thompson felt anger and hostility toward women in general and that his violence would escalate. One psychiatrist found him to be a sexual sadist.
In sessions with mental health professionals, Thompson admitted to sexually molesting relatives and to stabbing a friend in the back, leaving the young man paralyzed.
He also admitted to a history of voyeurism. He kept guns and knives with him since his teen years, he said, mostly as protection during his times dealing drugs.
When arrested for the rapes in 1985, Thompson admitted to more than 40 burglaries.
But in prison, Thompson become a model inmate, had no problems with female officers, and apparently embraced the religion of his mother, becoming a devout Jehovah's Witness and refusing any treatment beyond meeting with other members of his faith.
"Apparently, he does well in institutions," Low said.
The jury at his civil commitment hearing decided that Thompson did not meet the criteria of a sexually violent predator and he was released in October, moving in with his mother in her Ravenna neighborhood home.
On July 24, he moved to an apartment in the 4700 block of Roosevelt Way Northeast .
Low said police notified management and tenants that Thompson had moved in. Because Thompson had served his sentence, he was not under Department of Corrections supervision.
Still, Low said, Thompson followed the rules for registered sex offenders. "He reported each of his moves," Low said.
Thompson told detectives he was active with his Jehovah's Witness congregation, said he had a part-time job and a girlfriend.
But when he met with detectives last week, Thompson complained he was stymied in his efforts to enter society again.
When he tried to register for classes at a community college, he told detectives, administrators told him that if he did, they would go to the front of each of his classes and alert students of his status as a sex offender.
Low said that was Thompson's version of what happened, but he conceded that police have a delicate job -- balancing oversight of sex offenders without destroying their efforts to become law-abiding members of the community.
"We do the best we can to help them succeed," he said. "If they are succeeding, there are no more victims."
In Thompson's case, he said, police worried he would attack again.
"That's our fear," Low said. "A level three is somebody who climbs in through the window and attacks someone in the still of night with a high level of violence."
P-I reporter Hector Castro can be reached at 206-903-5396 or email@example.com
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http://www.komotv.com/s tori es/32730.htm
Convicted Rapist Arrested Again In U-District Attack
August 24, 2004
By Tracy Vedder
SEATTLE - Prosecutors said a convicted sex offender would attack again and now police think he has. Only this time, it was all caught on surveillance tape.
When Curtis Thompson raped four women in 1985, there were no witnesses. But this time, police say the crime happened in full view of a surveillance camera outside a University District apartment building.
The building's doors are kept locked. But, on the tape, you can see two women outside the back door smoking.
Police say Thompson approached them, pushing his way inside. And they say he was immediately violent.
"He punched her in the face," describes Seattle Police Officer Scott Moss.
The 45-year-old Thompson is 6 feet 3 inches, and weighs 220 pounds. He's a big man. The tape shows us another tenant walking inside while the attack is happening. But off camera when the he tried to help, Thompson punched him as well, then forced one of the women to take her blouse off.
"Then he threatened to kick her head through the wall if she didn't do so," adds Officer Moss.
Prosecutors say even though Thompson completed an 18-year prison term, they wanted hi m c ommitted as a violent sexual predator. A psychologist called him a sexual sadist.
But last fall, a jury decided Thompson should be released.
He is listed as a level three sex offender, which means they could be at a high risk to reoffend.
Thompson lives in a small boarding house just five blocks away from the apartment building where the attack occurred.
Roommate Stephen Vaughn had doubts about Thompson right away. And then police distributed the warning flyer listing Thompson as a Level III offender.
"Once I got this notification, I knew my suspicions were justified," he said.
But no one at this apartment where the attack occurred saw the notification. When Thompson approached the women, no one knew of his past. This time, tenants called 911 and the victim broke away, and police arrested him.
But resident Jayme Chiu wonders why Thompson was out in the first place.
"What kind of system do we have in place here? That's just not appropriate," she said.
Police are just thankful that this time there was an arrest before anything worse happened.
The King County Prosecutor's Office says it intends to file the most serious felony charges possible against Thompson, who is being held for investigation of kidnapping, assault and robbery.
Police believe he is a three strikes candidate and if convicted, could go to prison for the rest of his life.
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Friday, October 10, 2003 , 02:37 P.M.
Rapist moves in, worrying neighbors
By Christine Clarridge and Jonathan Martin
Seattle Times staff reporters
Like some of her neighbors, Caroline Simpson has spent a few sleepless nights since hearing over the weekend that a convicted rapist had just moved into her Bryant neighborhood in Northeast Seattle .
The university professor wasn't unsympathetic to the man's plight. After all, the man, Curtis Thompson, had done his time and had to find someplace to live ý in this case, it's with his mother.
And, Simpson says, she's known Thompson's mother for years and is sorry for the situation she finds herself in. "I felt so bad for her," Simpson said.
Yet she couldn't shake her fear.
So yesterday she did what a lot of her neighbors have done and arranged for the installation of a home-security system.
Know your neighborhood
Police emphasize that thousands of registered sex offenders live in Washington , in every community. King County alone tracks at least 3,900 sex offenders in its database. Snohomish County lists hundreds, not including the offenders listed as "Level 1," or considered unlikely to reoffend. Pierce County reports at least 2,100 registered sex offenders.
"I like to believe in second chances," said Simpson. "And I hope that he recovers fully, gets his life together and is a success story for the state of Washington . But what can I say, I have my doubts, and this is something we can do to feel safe."
A King County Superior Court jury on Friday rejected a plea from prosecutors to send Thompson ý convicted in 1985 of using a gun or a knife to rape four women ý to a secure treatment center for sexual offenders.
Experts for the prosecution testified during the three-week civil-commitment trial that Thompson, 44, was a sexual sadist, still harbored anger toward women and was at a high risk to reoffend.
Defense attorneys argued that Thompson had a record of exemplary behavior during his 18-year incarceration, including good relationships with several women who worked for the state Department of Corrections.
"They felt there was reasonable doubt about whether he would reoffend," said Anita Paulsen, one of Thompson's attorneys. Of the 185 current residents at the state's Special Commitment Center for sex offenders, 72 are awaiting commitment trials.
Since the process was created in 1990, only two other commitment trials, neither of them in King County, ended with the sex offender being released, said Sarah Sappington, a senior counsel with the Attorney General's Office, which handles trials for every county but King.
Although those men are guaranteed a trial within two months, nearly all waive the right, said Sappington.
Many of them hold out hope the controversial commitment process will be thrown out by an appeals court, but the U.S. Supreme Court has twice upheld Washington 's law.
The average wait for a commitment trial outside King County is about two years, although Sappington is preparing to go to trial in November in the case of a Wenatchee man who has been held at the Special Commitment Center since 1995.
After Thompson's release, he told authorities he intended to live with his mother in her home in the Bryant neighborhood.
Police scrambled to notify residents.
On Sunday, a community meeting was held by police, who talked to neighbors about Thompson's crimes and what they can do to be safe.
Dozens of neighbors have called security companies or gone shopping to look for ways to further secure their windows and doors.
An employee of Security By Design in Seattle reported that several residents of the Bryant neighborhood have requested complete home-security systems, while others have requested the installation of such equipment as outdoor cameras or panic buttons in bedrooms.
Rick Keltner of American Veterans Security had just finished signing a contract with Caroline Simpson when he was flagged down by another neighbor.
"What happens is that something like this triggers the idea in people's minds that they're not doing all they should be doing," he said.
Another woman, who didn't want to be named, said she had made an appointment this week for an existing security system in her home to be reactivated.
"I've slept a total of six hours in the last three nights," she said. "I keep waking up and thinking that someone is in my room."
Even additional security may not be enough to reassure her. Her father is pressing her to sell the house and move on.
"It breaks my heart because I love this neighborhood, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to feel safe here again," she said.
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605 or email@example.com