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Shunned Ex-Con Accused Of Raping Again Sex Offender Was Chased From Spokane County Neighborhoods

Wed., June 25, 1997

A convicted child rapist who was chased out of several Spokane neighborhoods following his release from prison is back in jail, accused of sexually assaulting two developmentally disabled teenagers.

The 19-year-old women told police Donald Torkelson forced them to have sexual intercourse in his apartment on South Monroe earlier this month.

Torkelson, 36, is charged with one count each of first-degree rape and second-degree rape. He is being held in jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Torkelson was released from prison in February 1994 after serving six years of a 10-year sentence for raping five Spangle children. Authorities said the abuse went on for several months and included more than 100 incidents.

Torkelson went into hiding soon after his release when residents in Mead and other Spokane County neighborhoods found out from police that he was a registered sex offender.

Citizens brandishing signs stating “Honk Pervert Out of Town” protested outside his door when he tried to move onto their block.

He was forced to relocate several times until he found an apartment near downtown in late 1994.

Himself a victim of sexual abuse as a child, Torkelson pleaded for a second chance during the protests, saying he had found God and would never rape again.

His father, Glen Torkelson, was convicted in 1975 of abusing him and his sister.

Torkelson’s case made national news, and he and his mother went on Montel Williams’ syndicated TV talk show to discuss his problems.

“I can understand their fear, but I’m a person, too,” he told a Spokane newspaper reporter in February 1994. “I’m a first-time offender. I should be in society because I changed. I did my time.”

On Friday night, Torkelson was arrested in a parking lot near his home in the 500 block of South Monroe after the two women told authorities he had raped them.

The pair told detectives they met Torkelson through mutual friends, and he invited them to his apartment at separate times. He then asked for sex and wouldn’t take no for an answer, they said.

One of the women said Torkelson slapped, punched, choked and threatened to kill her during the June 14 attack.

The other woman told detectives she pleaded with Torkelson “at least 10 times to stop,” an affidavit states.

Officers took photographs of marks and bruises on the women that they say are consistent with rape injuries.

Torkelson, who has been living off Social Security payments, told investigators he had consensual sex with one of the women, according to the affidavit.

A state social worker who talked to detectives said both victims have “a diminished capacity and are developmentally disabled.”

Chip Busch also told police the victims have low IQs and impaired judgment that requires them to live in group homes.

Torkelson made his first appearance in Spokane County District Court on Monday, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Kansas law that allows states to lock up convicted rapists and pedophiles even though their prison terms are over.

Washington adopted such a law in 1990, but Torkelson didn’t qualify because he had already been sentenced.

Court documents indicate Torkelson failed sex offender treatment programs at Eastern State Hospital and Western State Hospital during his six-year prison stay.

In March 1994, a counselor told state Corrections officials that Torkelson “will need to be very closely supervised while in the community. He is a high risk to re-offend.”

Last January, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine signed an order terminating Torkelson’s community supervision.

Under community supervision, Torkelson was required to check in with corrections officers periodically and pay off court costs and fines.

Community Corrections Officer Lori Johnson recommended the supervision be dropped even though she said Torkelson’s record of reporting to her office was “unsatisfactory” and he still owed $292 in costs and fines, court records state.

Bastine ruled that “overall costs of enforcing compliance or imposing further punitive measures are not justified …”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


 

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