Police: Girl molested by random man near Green Lake

by: Casey McNerthney Updated:

A 13-year-old girl was molested by a random man near Green Lake and arrested after Seattle officers posed as the girl wanting to meet him again near the lake.

Beniyam Tebebu, a 28-year-old who goes by Benny, is being held on $175,000 bond and was ordered by a judge to avoid Green Lake Park. Tebebu has not been charged. 

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The incident happened about 5:30 p.m. October 9. Her dad dropped her off at a traffic signal near Evans Pool and the 13-year-old planned to walk the rest of the way to the pool. 

She was called by a man in the passenger seat of a car in the Evans Pool parking lot. He asked for directions to the Starbucks on Aurora Avenue North. The girl tried to give directions. The man, who had his hand out the rolled-down window, seemed confused. 

Shortly after the 13-year-old approached, “the suspect reached both his hands out and grabbed (her) by the elastic on her sweatpants,” an officer wrote in a probable cause document. She yelled “What are you doing?” as police said he pulled the girl closer.

“He then reached his left hand down her pants,” the officer wrote. “He reached his hand under her underwear.” 

The 13-year-old, who described the incident in further detail to police, broke free and ran away. As she did, she heard the man yelling to come back. 

She was wearing a backpack that included a note that had a phone number to call if the backpack was found. 

The teen told her swim instructor, who called the girl’s parents. After her father took her home, the number listed on the backpack -- the mother’s phone number -- started receiving text messages from the suspect, police said.

The mother wrote back that her daughter was 13 and that police would be notified. The suspect apologized and said he would not contact her further.

But when members of the North Precinct Anti-Crime Team wrote back from the phone number pretending to be the 13-year-old, they say Tebebu agreed to meet near Green Lake.

After several text message conversations, Tebebu, who was identified as Beniyam Abera in the initial police report, went to the meeting spot with another man. Poliec did a traffic stop on the vehicle, which was consistent with the 13-year-old’s account. 

The iPhone under his seat was consistent with the text conversation, police said.

When the 13-year-old was asked if the suspect in custody was the man from the incident, she began to cry and “replied that she was 100% positive Abera [Tebebu] was the one who sexually assaulted her,” according to the incident report.

Tebebu was arrested and transported the police headquarters, where he met with a sexual assault detective. He refused to speak with detectives and requested a lawyer.

Tebebu remained in King County Jail Wednesday night, and is expected to have a second appearance Thursday. 


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