Thurston County Police Arrest Man for Allegedly Assaulting a Teen at a Bus Stop Sunday


Lacey police arrested a 50-year-old Olympia man Wednesday who's accused of assaulting and trying to kiss a 17-year-old girl at a bus stop.

Officers found the man at about 5 a.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of a motel near Martin Way East and College Street Southeast, Police Sgt. Jeremy Knight said.

He was arrested "without incident" and booked into Thurston County jail on suspicion of second-degree assault of a child with sexual motivation, Knight said.

The alleged assault occurred before 9 a.m. Sunday by an apartment complex near Yelm Highway Southeast and Ruddell Road in Lacey, Knight said.

Knight said the man allegedly sat uncomfortably close to the teen and spoke to her at the bus stop. At one point, Knight said the man lunged at her and wrapped his hand around her throat, strangling her. He then allegedly tried to kiss her, but she screamed and fought back.

Knight said the teen managed to get away and the man left the scene. She eventually continued on her way to a church in Tacoma.

The teen and her aunt reported the incident to Lacey police just before 6 p.m., after she had returned to Lacey, he said.

"She did everything we would hope for," Knight said. "She did a good job responding to this threat."

Officers canvassed the area and found surveillance footage showing the man near the bus stop. From there, he said detectives distributed images of the suspect to area jails and law enforcement.

Knight said corrections officers at the Nisqually Tribal jail recognized the man as someone who had been released just three days prior, on March 23.

Court records indicate the man has criminal history in Thurston County that dates back to 1991. It includes various assaults, criminal trespasses and more.

Knight declined to describe any injuries the teen may have suffered. He said the teen did not previously know the man and the alleged assault appeared to be random.

"It's a good reminder to have situational awareness," Knight said. "If it doesn't seem right, it probably isn't."