SEATTLE — A female courthouse worker was attacked and assaulted Thursday morning in a second-floor bathroom of the King County Courthouse by a homeless registered sex offender, according to law enforcement sources close to the investigation.
Police sources say the suspect, 35-year-old Clint James Jory, who had been recently released after a 21-month jail sentence, was hiding in the women’s bathroom when the court worker walked in. Jory was nearly naked when a King County Sheriff’s deputy heard the victim’s screams and used force to restrain and cuff the suspect, who fought the deputy, according to sources.
Seattle police are investigating the crime, and investigators believe Jory went through security along with workers, jurors and everyone else.
“He passed through security, said Sgt. Randy Huserik. “So, clearly having gone through the metal detector, and at that point he was inside the courthouse.”
For years, judges and King County court workers have told the city of Seattle the area around the courthouse is unsafe, partially because of a homeless encampment in City Hall Park next to the building, which has been the scene of multiple assaults and even a recent murder.
“Homeless people do have the right to come into a public building and just sit around and or live in the bathrooms sometimes, or take baths and stuff in there,” said a female courthouse worker who is not the victim and asked not to be identified. “It makes you feel uncomfortable in closed spaces in general, because you know you are never safe,” she said.
Jory has a long criminal history in North Dakota and in Washington, according to public records. He was convicted two years ago of attacking and sexually assaulting four women at random in downtown Seattle, according to court documents, Records show Jory was released from jail last week, and registered as a sex offender the day before the attack.
“When we go before a judge and we argue that someone is a danger to the public, this is exactly what we’re talking about,” said Casey McNerthney of the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn wrote an open letter to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine calling for emergency action:
“I am requesting that the Courthouse, the Administration Building and the Chinook building be shut down to all, except to employees and people with necessary business until the situation at City Hall Park can be adequately addressed, and we can ensure the safety of our employees,” Dunn wrote.
Female court workers, who asked not to be identified, agree with Dunn, saying they and everyone coming to the courthouse in the pursuit of justice face danger of assaults and worse here every day.
“The city is not going to do anything until someone gets killed,” said the court worker. “And it has to be somebody like a councilman or an attorney or not just people like you and me. We need to clear the streets and make them safe around here for people to get access to justice.”
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