Sex offender faces judge as investigation continues

by: Natasha Chen Updated:

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SEATTLE - A convicted sex offender is back in jail after appearing in a Seattle courtroom, but has yet to face a judge for an alleged sexual assault.

He's under investigation after a teenage homeless boy told police he was sexually assaulted.

Michael Stanley escaped from Canada when he cut off his monitoring bracelet.

Stanley, who is also a U.S. citizen, appeared in municipal court for a harassment charge, while detectives continue to work on his case of sexual assault.

Police said there is no immediate time pressure to charge him with that felony, given that Stanley is unlikely to meet his $100,000 bond for harassment. He could potentially be held on that charge until trial.

In municipal court, Stanley's defense attorney wanted to hide Stanley's face from the TV cameras, but KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Dubois argued there was no reason media shouldn't be able to show Stanley's face.

The convicted sex offender even gave KIRO 7 an on-camera interview before his arrest.

The judge denied the request from the defense.

Wearing his orange jail jumpsuit, the 48-year-old appeared for a video arraignment from the King County Jail.

Stanley's attorney entered a plea of not guilty to harassment charges.

Stanley was arrested in a West Seattle alleyway Tuesday morning after police said he was yelling at neighbors and was argumentative with police.

But then a 16-year-old homeless boy from Kirkland came forward and said Stanley tried to get him drunk then sexually assaulted him in the same alley early that morning.

The manager of the Chevron Extra Mile convenience store, Cathy Wentzel, shared surveillance video of Stanley and the boy in her store, just hours before the alleged assault.

They are seen heating up bagels, but neither purchased anything. They are then seen leaving the store, heading toward the alley about 2 a.m.

About 4:30 a.m., Wentzel  said, the boy came into the store.

"Very meek, very reserved, and a little scared, to tell you the truth," Wentzel said. "I asked him his name; he said Mitch."

He told Wentzel he had been abused by family in the past, but he didn't tell her anything about the assault in the alley.

In fact, he came in to thank her for finding his friend a clean place to sleep in the same alley.

"The kid was in the store reaching out. That's why he was in here – it wasn't just to thank me for helping his friend. And he was disturbed a little bit, and I sensed that. I usually don't. I'm usually like 'I have work to do,'" Wentzel said.

So she helped him get phone numbers for services that help homeless teens.

Tuesday night, Seattle police tried to contact the 16-year-old's family, but could not reach them. They then took the teen into custody, for a truancy warrant. It was one way he could remain safe.

Later, Wentzel looked at the video and recognized Michael Stanley because of the pants he wore. KIRO 7 found the same pants in the alley Tuesday morning, and they were the same pants Stanley wore as he ran from a KIRO 7 crew on Friday.

KIRO 7 chased Stanley down last week to confront him about cutting off his electronic monitoring bracelet and coming into Washington state from Canada, where he was under supervision for multiple sex crimes.

"I'm not out there committing crime. I'm not raping people. I'm not killing people. I'm not doing anybody wrong," said Stanley during the interview.

He told KIRO 7 reporter Linzi Sheldon he wasn't dangerous and even sounded like he knew about the behavior of sexual predators.

"You're saying you've never sexually assaulted anyone?" asked Sheldon.

"No. And if I did, don't you think I'd still be doing it? Because that (doesn't) stop. If somebody has that problem, it does not stop," said Stanley.

Prosecutors asked the judge to set a high bail on the harassment charge, while the defense wanted the convicted sex offender released.

The judge set bail at $100,000.

As for the charges for the sexual assault of the 16 year-old boy, Seattle police said they hope to have the case to prosecutors by the end of the day Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the 16-year-old is being held at the juvenile justice facility near downtown Seattle.

 

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