Kirkland Police Arrest Pierce County Child Rape Suspect at Tent City 4

The 35-year-old man is suspected of child rape in Tacoma and was arrested by Kirkland detectives on Nov. 7 at the Tent City currently located on Finn Hill at St. John Vianney Church.

Detectives from the Kirkland Police Department last week arrested a man suspected of child rape in Pierce County at the Tent City 4 camp currently located at St. John Vianney Church on 84th Avenue Northeast on Kirkland's Finn Hill.

“It was a Tacoma Police Department case,” said Kirkland police spokesman Lt. Mike Murray. “They came up and provided us with information that a suspect was here. Our detectives located him and arrested him.”

The arrest was made Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Murray said the man, 35, is not a registered sex offender, but rather a suspect in a rape in Tacoma. Tent City is an encampment of about 100 homeless people that rotates among various churches in Eastside cities every three months. St. John Vianney is currently hosting the camp, as it has five times since 2004. The Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church (WUUC) hosted the Tent City 4 community earlier this year for 90 days.

The Kirkland church sent a letter to nearby residents about the recent arrest, saying the suspect had been subject to a screening process and that the church has taken steps with Tent City staff to implement a system of weekly checks for sex offenders. In the past, Tent City managers have said all residents are subject to background checks and that registered sex offenders are not allowed to live in the camp, nor anyone with an outstanding warrant.

KPD’s Lt. Murray said Tent City has been located at various Kirkland churches many times and that its residents typically pose few problems.

“We’ve arrested probably four or five car prowlers recently, and none of them were related to Tent City,” Murray said. “Tent City is almost a non-issue for us. We have very few problems.”

Here is the entire letter to neighbors from St. John Vianney Church:

November 8, 2012

Dear Neighbors and Friends of St. John Vianney Parish,

I am writing to notify you of an arrest that occurred at Tent City, which is being hosted by St. John Vianney parish. On the evening of Nov. 7 an individual was arrested by Pierce County law enforcement for charges of child rape that allegedly occurred in Pierce County. He is now being held without bail in the Pierce County Jail.

I want to assure you that the accused, like all residents, was subjected to a thorough background and a sexual offender check prior to being granted residence at Tent City. The background checks came up clear. The criminal charges in this case were filed on Oct. 26, nearly two weeks after the individual became a Tent City resident.

The morning after the incident, parish staff met with Tent City staff and have taken steps to implement a system of random weekly sexual offender checks for residents to assure the safety and security of our neighbors, parishioners and ail who use our parish facilities.

St. John Vianney Parish has hosted Tent City for 3-month stays five times since 2004 Without incident.

TC4 arrived here on October 13 and will be moving January 12.

We are committed to providing a humane housing alternative for homeless individuals while making safety for the community we serve our highest priority. Although this alleged criminal behavior did not occur at Tent City, or anywhere in the Kirkland community, we take it very seriously and will continue to review our guidelines and procedures to assure that safety-remains our first priority.

If you have any questions or concerns, please Contact Margie at (425) 823-0787.


Fr. Ramon Santa Cruz, Pastor

St. John John Vianney Parish

Tent City 4 has not been without controversy in Woodinville. In 2006, organizers sought to extend the encampment’s stay in the city of Woodinville, only to be met with an eviction notice that was appealed to the highest court in Washington.

In 2009, the State Supreme Court judged in favor of Woodinville’s Northshore United Church of Christ’s right to host Tent City 4.

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Karen November 15, 2012 at 01:04 AM
About the "screening process", you report Tent City Managers have said "all residents are subject to background checks". This is misleading. "Background check" implies some sort of broad check presumably including criminal history. The most that actually happens is checks for current active warrants &/or listing on the sex offender list. Residents can and have been "grandfathered in" from other SHARE locations (some do NO checks) without being checked. If one becomes resident they can stay for years &/or move in and out for years without another check. Past TC4 residents have told me how one can "get around" having a problematic check . The checks done didn't prevent residence of some with active warrants & a high level sex offender in TC 3 & 4, and one at another homeless shelter run by SHARE, who is behind these shelters. TC4 comes to my neighborhood also, and while here, 51 residents gave their names in court documents. Court and some police record checks were run . 3 of the 51 had active outstanding warrants, & 9 had committed 15 crimes WHILE living in TC4. That is not "a couple" Nancy, it is over 20% of the ones who willingly put their names out to the courts. It is a well documented, direct contradiction of the story line we neighbors always get from SHARE, TC4, the churches that make the choice to host them & accept their procedures as adequate for the protection of their neighbors, and even our own city and police staff (more later) Karen
Karen November 15, 2012 at 03:31 AM
If Nancy and others like her really want to know the difference they should try thinking about it objectively, or perhaps doing some research before commenting. The city I live in (and most) would not permit property owners to host 100 people of any sort in tents on their property for 90 days at a time repeatedly. Such permits are only available to religious organizations, and only under certain conditions. The hosting and operating organizations agreed to numerous things, incuding the checks, as part of their security plans, for the safety of all, including the homeless residents. So it is their responsibility because they agreed to do it as part of public plans and agreements, and because it enhances security and safety in a very unique situation. I can choose who to invite to my home, and whether to go to taverns, etc... and which ones. I do not have a choice whether to have this encampment across the street. The situations are not analogous. You offer no real refutation of numerous factual issues raised, choosing instead to traffic in distraction, judgement, labelling and verbal intimidation. You do this to people you know nothing about except you disagree with them about what is worthy of their attention or action on a singular issue in their own neighborhood. Apparently you don't follow your own advice about casting stones. FYI, no warrants or SO's at my house, and if you do show up with the attitude you display here, you will be asked to leave. Karen
Saira V. November 15, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Nancy, did SJV do everything in its powers to protect its members and the community given the information provided to them? The community provided binders of information to the church indicating that procedures were insufficient. SJV chose to overlook the risks, did nothing to mitigate and in so doing has become a party inflicting pain upon the well-being of the community--classic situation for a hungry personal injury attorney.
Saira V. November 15, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Nancy, motels are closed down for failing to control illegal activities on their premises, taverns lose their licenses for violating laws, and home owners are liable for the actions of their guests. Tort law allows for a community to describe harm done by willful neglect....does not require criminal negligence, just overwhelming argument describing neglect. I think that a compiled history of complaints and issues preceding tent city is adequate for a normal person to understand as risk that would require some additional measures of mitigation. In the absence of taking additional measures to assure safety, the host has accepted the risk and responsibility for further harm. SJV is liable in a major way whether you believe it or not.
Saira V. November 15, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Thank you for understanding the legal exposure that SJV put itself.


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