Repeat sex offender arrested in alleged West Seattle assault
Sex-offender Michael Sean Stanley, who fled from Canada, was arrested Tuesday after police say he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy he lured into a West Seattle alley.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Two weeks after crossing unchallenged into the United States from Canada, convicted sex offender Michael Sean Stanley was arrested Tuesday after police say he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old boy he lured into a West Seattle alley.
Stanley, 48, has been at the center of a furor since he walked into the United States at the Blaine border crossing, despite a warrant for his arrest out of Edmonton, Alberta, for cutting off a monitoring bracelet Oct. 1 and fleeing the province. Canadian authorities have categorized him as an untreated, violent sex offender and serial burglar “who posed a significant risk to the community.”
A U.S. citizen, Stanley spent several years in Canadian prisons for a variety of crimes.
Seattle police said Stanley was arrested about 6 a.m. Tuesday in a West Seattle alley after neighbors complained of a man yelling. One neighbor said Stanley threatened him after he asked Stanley to quiet down, according to a police report.
Officers arrived in the alley near the 2400 block of 44th Avenue Southwest to find Stanley, shirtless and extremely intoxicated, crawling out of a trash bin, the report said.
Officers say he was belligerent and “actively resisted,” refusing to comply with their commands.
After he was in custody, officers confiscated a small lock-blade knife, a flashlight, a screwdriver and pliers, according to the report.
Stanley was initially booked into the King County Jail on misdemeanor charges of harassment. However, police announced in a news release later Tuesday morning that Stanley had become a suspect in an assault on a grocery clerk, which had occurred earlier.
He is scheduled to appear in Seattle Municipal Court on Wednesday morning.
Seattle police say Stanley met the 16-year-old at a grocery store and struck up a conversation with him. He then lured the boy into the alley and gave him alcohol before allegedly grabbing and sexually assaulting him, police reported in the news release.
Police said the teenager pulled a knife on Stanley, ran to another location and called police.
Police did not release a copy of the report on the alleged assault Tuesday.
Stanley entered the United States at the Blaine border crossing Oct. 7 after cutting the monitoring bracelet and fleeing Edmonton, where he had been under supervision following his release after 32 months in prison for kidnapping two boys from a school playground. He also has a rape conviction for assaulting an 82-year-old disabled woman in Canada.
Edmonton police issued a warrant for his arrest and Canadian law-enforcement officials said U.S. Customs and Border Protection had been told that Stanley might be attempting to enter the United States.
U.S. Customs officials have said they could not arrest Stanley on the Canadian warrant, which could not be served in the United States.
Customs officials have said that Stanley’s right to privacy prohibits the agency from discussing why he wasn’t turned over to Canadian authorities instead of being allowed into the United States, or how someone with what Canadian police call a long and “horrendous record” of sex crimes was allowed to cross into the U.S. without further scrutiny.
Last week, Customs spokesman Mike Milne explained that generally, anyone who can establish identification as a U.S. citizen and isn’t wanted in this country or named in a “provisional warrant” filed by another country with the U.S. Department of Justice can cross into the United States.
Canada has said it would not seek Stanley’s extradition over charges of cutting off his GPS monitor and fleeing the country.
When told Tuesday of Stanley’s arrest in Seattle, Alberta Justice spokeswoman Michelle Davio told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC): “It’s not our crime. It’s not our offense. It didn’t happen in Alberta so it doesn’t change things.”
Seattle police last week announced that Stanley was in the city and ordered him to register as a sex offender, which he did as a transient, listing the general area of First Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle as his address. The location is near Pike Place Market and one block from a preschool, according to records.
The King County Sheriff’s Office classified Stanley as a Level 2 sex offender, indicating a moderate risk of reoffending. Seattle police said authorities are now trying to determine how his arrest Tuesday will impact his offender status.
Stanley has targeted adults and children, according to Canadian parole documents obtained by the CBC.
In 1987, he broke into the apartment of an 82-year-old Lethbridge woman who used a wheelchair and raped her. The same night, he was discovered in another apartment with two young girls, including a 15-month-old child who had been undressed, the CBC reported Monday.
In 2000, Stanley was charged with exposing himself to children, the CBC reported.
He also was charged with sexually assaulting a young girl in 2004, but according to the CBC the girl delayed reporting the incident and eventually refused to testify because she was afraid of Stanley.
He went to prison again in 2006 after luring two mentally impaired boys to an Edmonton apartment, where he held them and blew crack smoke in their faces. Parole documents indicate he initially had been charged with sexual abuse in that case.
Stanley also has a long criminal history in Washington state and has been named in cases in King, Okanogan, Chelan, Grant, Lincoln and Clark counties, according to court records.
According to King County Superior Court documents, Stanley pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary after breaking into an occupied home in 1983 and was sentenced to one year and nine months.
He was released on parole on Dec. 4, 1984, and five days later was arrested again for breaking into a Seattle apartment on 36th Avenue South where residents confronted him, according to documents. Stanley armed himself with an 8½-inch kitchen knife when a resident approached him.
Although Stanley was finally subdued by the homeowner and held until police arrived, he’d cut off a small portion of the resident’s little fingernail during the struggle, court documents say.
A jury convicted Stanley of first-degree burglary while armed with a deadly weapon, and he was sentenced to just over four years in prison.
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information from Seattle Times’ archives is included in this story.