Excerpted from a KING5News story by Michael Crowe
After a Seattle homeless man was arrested and charged with raping a woman in a Ballard car dealership bathroom, a survivor of a similar attack is calling for policy changes.
Kelly Herron was attacked in a Ballard public restroom while on a run in 2017. Her attacker was also homeless.
Christopher Teel is currently facing charges of rape and false imprisonment. He was arrested Monday, after the alleged assault.
“I wish I could say I was surprised, but I live in Ballard, and I’m not,” Herron said. “I’ve just seen the homeless epidemic getting worse and worse, with blatant drug use on the street. There seems to be a complete lack of city accountability for homeless who have past records.”
It’s why she’s calling on the city council to produce new policies and a defined plan to help protect people like her.
“It’s time to start having a basic level of accountability and visibility into what is being done,” she said.
Others in Ballard have echoed her message this week. Seattle Police responded Thursday.
“We are listening to your concerns, acting on your concerns,” said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, public affairs director for SPD. “We’ve stepped up our patrols. We’re doing what we can, and looking for ways to do more. We don’t want people to be discouraged to the point where crime and disorder become white noise.”
Herron also wants stronger background checks for homeless individuals staying in city-sanctioned encampments.
Scott Morrow, who helps manage the city-sanctioned encampment in Ballard known as Nickelsville, confirmed suspect Teel stayed there as recently as May 9, and that staff did not perform a background check. They did reference his government issue ID against the King County Transient Sex Offender List and found he was not on it, Morrow said.
You can read the full story here.