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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

DNA entry leads to arrest in year-old rape case

Spokane police released this sketch in January 2010 after a reported rape at a park near the Northtown Mall on New Year's Day. A suspect, Louis Kuster, was arrested on Jan. 27, 2011, based on a DNA sample. (Courtesy of Spokane Police Department)
A Spokane man whose DNA was entered into a national database after a felony property crime conviction in August has been linked to a rape on Jan. 1, 2010, police announced Friday. The suspect, Louis Victor Kuster, 23, is in custody on $250,000 bond after appearing Friday in Superior Court on a second-degree rape charge via video from the Spokane County Jail, where he was booked Thursday. Kuster is accused of raping a 16-year-old girl at Patrick Byrne Park, 125 E. Walton Ave. DNA was collected from the victim, but no match was found in the DNA index until Kuster’s sample was submitted “in the last few months,” according to a news release from the Spokane Police Department. Kuster underwent sex offender treatment as a teenager after he was accused of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching four girls while a middle school student in Stevens County. He pleaded guilty to four counts of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation in 2002 and served two years probation. After his arrest, detectives said in court documents that Kuster, then 14, “never appeared flustered, embarrassed or remorseful,” during interviews. “He did not seem to care about getting in trouble.” His foster mother told police he needed counseling. Court records show Kuster was ordered to submit a DNA sample on Aug. 24 during sentencing for a second-degree possession of stolen property charge that stemmed from an assault and robbery involving three acquaintances. Police had released a sketch of the rapist and received several tips, including at least one that led detectives to obtain a DNA swab from a person of interest in March. Detectives learned of a match with Kuster on Jan. 21. They obtained a new sample from Kuster after his arrest Thursday. He was arrested Jan. 15 on suspicion of obstructing an officer for allegedly resisting a weapons pat down. He also has a pending drunken driving charge resulting from a Jan. 2 traffic stop. The rape he’s accused of allegedly occurred about 4 p.m. at the park near the NorthTown Mall after the assailant talked with the victim about 20 minutes, police said. Detective Janell Pogachar said in a search warrant used to obtain Kuster’s DNA that information about the suspect matches what the rapist told the girl, including his date of birth and that he was “almost 22 years old.” Kuster turned 22 five days after the attack. Kuster declined to be interviewed Friday night. A man who answered the phone at Kuster’s home said he doubts Kuster “did what they accused him of.” “I live with him, and I really don’t see this happening,” said the man, who refused to give his name.