Woman raped by man living in city homeless camp tells story, calls for strong leaders

SEATTLE — For the first time, the woman who investigators say was raped by a man who had been living in a city-sanctioned homeless camp in Ballard last year is telling her story.

“I didn't want to die on a linoleum trailer bathroom floor,” she said, identifying herself with only her first name, Lindsey. “I didn't want my story to end there. And I kept fighting.”

The victim, who was attacked in the bathroom at Carter Volkswagen in Ballard last year, reached out to friend, former Seattle City Council candidate and documentary filmmaker Christopher F. Rufo for help. Rufo said Lindsey wanted to tell the story of what happened to her and demand change from the City of Seattle about the problem of wanted criminals living at city-sanctioned homeless camps and using public services. Rufo shared parts of his interview with her online on Monday.

The suspect in the rape, Christopher Teel, was living in Nicklesville, then in Ballard, less than a week before the rape. At the time, records show Teel had an active warrant for his arrest in connection with another charge.

The revelation had both the victim and the community asking why the suspect was allowed at a city homeless camp, and what the city could have done to prevent the rape.

But city-sanctioned camps are not required to do criminal background checks, so staff there did not know Teel had an active warrant.

Rufo said in his Facebook post that when the victim brought up the issue to Seattle political leaders, including Ballard City Council representative Mike O’Brien, she was dismissed. His office did not return phone calls or emails from KIRO 7 on Monday. O’Brien is not running for re-election.

"He was using public services to survive," the victim, Lindsey, said of the suspect. "I think we all need to acknowledge what we’re doing isn’t working. What we’re doing right now is actually harming us and we need strong leaders. And strong leaders, in my opinion, are out there."

KIRO 7 asked the Office of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan whether she would consider requiring city-sanctioned encampments to check for warrants on residents. Her office did not respond to that question, but did send a statement that said in part, “Mayor Durkan commends the courage of a survivor of sexual violence to speak out. Ballard is and continues to be one of the focus areas for increased visibility and enforcement by SPD. Ballard has seen increased patrols and officer generated calls.”

This is Lindsey's story.

Ballard Rape Survivor Speaks Out

Last year, a man living in a city-sanctioned homeless encampment violently raped a woman at the Ballard Volkswagen dealership. For the first time, the survivor of that horrific crime is telling her story—and speaking out against the political leadership in Seattle. City-sanctioned homeless encampments have become magnets for crime and violence in our city. According to the Seattle Times, when the city opened a low-barrier encampment in Licton Springs, the police recorded a 221% increase in reported crimes and public disturbances.* Neighbors witnessed a dramatic rise in property destruction, violence, prostitution, and drug dealing in the area. The sad reality is that the Seattle City Council has shown more compassion for transient criminals than the survivors of their crimes. The survivor of the Ballard sexual assault reached out to me last year after receiving nothing but dismissiveness and contempt from political leaders including Councilman Mike O'Brien. She asked me to help tell her story and demand change in our city, so that no woman has to endure the same horror that she endured that morning last year. This is Lindsey's story. It's time for Seattle's political leaders to finally listen.

Posted by Christopher F. Rufo on Monday, April 22, 2019