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Sex offender being investigated for rape of Seattle woman during church service

FILE - This Jan. 21, 2015 file photo, Lyle Jeffs leaves the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City. Federal authorities are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of fugitive polygamous sect leader Jeffs. Jeffs has been on the lam for 10 weeks after slipping out of his GPS ankle monitor and escaping home confinement in Salt Lake City while awaiting trial on food stamp fraud charges. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

A registered sex offender is suspected of raping a woman at a church service in Seattle on Sunday.

It was about 9:30 a.m. and the church service had already started. Seattle Police Detective Renee Witt said the suspect, a 37-year-old man, was sitting behind the 25-year-old female victim.

The victim’s row stood up and the suspect allegedly leaned over and lifted her skirt.

Witt said the victim was not aware of what the man was doing, but several of her relatives saw it happen. “So they scooped him up and took him outside and they called 911 at that point in time.”

While the family was outside waiting for police to arrive, the suspect managed to slip away, and Witt said he made a beeline for the victim back inside the church.

This time, police say he sat down right next to her, and that’s when he sexually assaulted and raped her.

“She ran away,” said Witt. “Her boyfriend and three other gentlemen scooped him up again, took him outside, and waited for officers to get there.”

Witt praised the men for their self-restraint after taking the suspect outside.

“I’ve seen some pretty egregious things, some bizarre things, some funny things, some disturbing things,” Witt told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “But this was very bizarre […] A church is a sacred thing and you would think most people know it.”

The man was booked on investigation of rape.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

About the Author

Alyssa Kleven

Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at MyNorthwest.com. She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.

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