A man who claims to have assaulted dozens of women along the Centennial Trail came forward Wednesday to read a tearful confession on live television.
Multiple women have contacted law enforcement and Gonzaga campus security in recent days saying that an individual approached them on the trail, slapped them on the backside and then fled. The actions led media outlets to refer to the individual as the “Spokane Spanker.”
Jonathan Smith, 28, approached the downtown offices of KHQ Television and identified himself as the spanker. In prepared remarks, he apologized to the victims and said he did not want anyone to feel unsafe because of his actions.
Police, who were alerted by the station while the confession was taking place, say they are investigating and know where to locate Smith when they are ready to make an arrest, according to KHQ-TV. Smith also told the station that he had spoken with officers.
Spokane Police did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Spokesman-Review reached Smith by phone but he declined to comment, saying only that he hoped everyone involved would watch the video of his confession.
During the roughly five-minute long confession, Smith said that he slapped women “to be daring and mischievous, but not malicious.”
“I saw women’s butts that I liked, and I slapped them for the thrill,” he said.
He told the station that he has slapped as many as 50 women.
In a story published by KHQ earlier this week, one woman recounted that her assailant, who was on a bicycle at the time, struck her so hard she doubled over in pain.
Smith said that the last time he slapped a woman was Wednesday, April 12. However, Gonzaga security circulated a notice early this week saying that at least four assaults had occurred over the weekend.
Jonathan Smith’s Facebook page lists Merced, California, as his city of origin. It says that he attended Cheney High School and studied music education at Eastern Washington University. Photos on the page show Smith eating out and volunteering for charitable activities with the Family of Faith Community.
KHQ-TV Executive Producer Luke Thoburn told The Spokesman-Review that Smith is currently homeless.