11-year-old girl sexually assaulted in Enumclaw library

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 1 at 7:28 AM

ENUMCLAW, Wash. -- The small town of Enumclaw is in disbelief after a young girl was sexually assaulted at the public library.

Twenty-five-year-old Travis Lear is accused of child molestation and kidnapping.  He's also a registered sex offender.

"What happened is a rarity in this town," said Sergeant John Buss with the Enumclaw Police Department.  "In the 24 years I've been here, I've never heard of an abduction like this."

Police say the 11-year-old victim was at the library with her father on Wednesday afternoon.  She was by his side almost the entire time, but briefly went to the car to get a snack.  Police say that's when Lear approached her.

According to court documents, Lear threatened to kill the little girl before he forced her inside a bathroom.  He allegedly locked the door and told her "he didn't like what he was doing, but he had urges".

Lear is someone police were quite familiar with.  He's a convicted felon, whose previous victims include a 14-year-old girl from Pierce County and a mentally disabled woman from Auburn.

Surveillance cameras inside the library helped investigators positively identify Lear.  He was arrested a short time later at his mother's house in Enumclaw.

By Thursday, stunned library patrons had heard the news.

"I would never have thought it would be here, first of all, at the library in a town like this," said parent Sheila Smith.  "So I guess I would think twice before I would let my kids go in there by themselves
now."

The director of the King County Library System said that the incident has deeply affected his staff at the Enumclaw branch.  Bill Ptacek says counselors will be brought in on Friday.  He also says they are sorry about what happened, and that their hearts go out to the victim's family.

The library will do a thorough review of its security procedures, but no immediate changes are planned. Staff and parents are always instructed to keep a close watch over children in the library.

On Thursday, a judge set Lear's bail at one million dollars and called him a "danger to the community."

Court documents show Lear actually checked in with his probation officer less than an hour before the incident occured on Wednesday.  He even asked permission to go to the library, and was instructed not to go.

He lives in an apartment directly across the street from the library.

In the state of Washington, a level two or three sex offender cannot reside within 880 feet of a school or daycare center.  Libraries are not included in the statute.

Since Lear is classified as a level one sex offender, he isn't prohibited from living near a school or daycare either.


 

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