Convicted sex offender attacks woman in restroom at Seattle park

SEATTLE — A homeless sex offender is accused of attacking a woman inside the bathroom of a popular park in Seattle.

Police say the attempted rape happened Sunday afternoon at Golden Gardens.  Officers say 40-year-old Gary Steiner punched the victim in the face nearly half a dozen times, wrestled her to the ground, and pulled at her pants.

The victim told police she felt close to losing consciousness but escaped.  Officers say the incident was so violent the door on one of the stalls broke and Steiner was trapped inside; passers-by locked the outside door as well.

“It’s disturbing.  This is a place where -- as you see the playground over here -- a lot of families come.  So when you hear it was in the middle of the day I think about the kids immediately,” Kaitlyn Terrill told us.

She came to the beach Monday night for a bonfire; when we told her about the assault-- she took it personally.

“I’ve been attacked in my past so I feel for her,” Kaitlyn told us.

Records show Steiner has attacked before; police say days before this incident a warrant was issued for Steiner's arrest due to his failure to register as a sex offender in Clark County, Washington.
We pulled his criminal record. The Clark County Sheriff's office lists Steiner as a Transient Level III Sex Offender, the level most likely to re-offend.

In 1999 he was charged with 3 counts of sexual abuse for attacking several women in Maricopa County, Arizona.  Nine years later he was charged with indecent exposure.

Kaitlyn says that’s hard to hear but even harder to accept the fact that it will happen again.

“No matter how family oriented an environment may be there’s always going to be predators no matter where you go,” she concluded.

Police say they don’t know when or why Steiner came to Seattle.  He was booked into the King County jail on attempted rape and assault charges.