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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Three charged with kidnapping, rape of 14-year-old

UPDATED: Thu., May 24, 2018

The Wolfe Apartments at 240 W. Sprague Ave., at 240 W. Sprague Ave., is the site where a teenage girl said she was held and raped by three men. Photographed Thursday, May 24, 2018. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
The Wolfe Apartments at 240 W. Sprague Ave., at 240 W. Sprague Ave., is the site where a teenage girl said she was held and raped by three men. Photographed Thursday, May 24, 2018. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Three men are charged with kidnapping a 14-year-old girl and holding her hostage for several days while they repeatedly raped her and forced her to do drugs.

Superior Court Judge Raymond Clary set bond at $250,000 each for Curtis Burgett, 55, William Jackson, 42, and Harold Sherman, 59, on Thursday afternoon.

They stand accused of keeping the teenage girl in their respective apartments, often around piles of garbage and dirty clothes, where they injected her with meth and other drugs and repeatedly raped her. The complex, the Wolfe Apartments at 240 W. Sprague Ave., sits directly across the street from the downtown police precinct.

The complex made national news in 2003 for harboring sex offenders and wards of the state.

Court records say the girl went to police with her parents after she escaped and took a bus north along Division Street, where she camped with another male for a night in the woods. According to police, the girl ran away from home on April 1 because her “parents were fighting.”

The girl told officers that while she was sitting on a bench in River Park Square, she was approached by Jackson, who offered her beer and cigarettes. She then asked if he had a place to stay, which is when he took her to his apartment nearby.

She recognized the area, according to court records, because she would often receive counseling at neighboring Lutheran Community Services.

When she entered Jackson’s apartment building, she told officers, she saw a “bunch of people” in the hallway and “flickering lights” above. In his room, which was a single bedroom, it was messy – a bed with a blankets and a pillow with no case, a pile of dirty clothes in the corner and garbage everywhere. On the table, a “container full of pipes.”

Court records say Burgett and Sherman, who she said had “no teeth,” entered the room and the three immediately began pressuring her to take a hit of meth. She refused, but eventually relented, and after smoking the meth, got “super high” and felt “really drowsy.”

She told officers Burgett and Sherman left the apartment, which is when Jackson removed her clothes and sexually assaulted her.

Court records say he then told her to go to Sherman’s apartment, because he “knew I would run.” She went to the apartment, which is where she said Sherman sexually assaulted her multiple times.

At one point during the time she was in the building, she said, Burgett told her that “if you tell anybody, I’m going to hurt you very badly.”

The girl told police that for three days, they forced her to “clean, cook and have sex with them” while not allowing her to sleep.

After escaping on April 3 while the three men were out at a food bank, court records say her parents took her to a hospital, where she was able to draw a sketch for police of the layouts of three rooms.

She also picked out the three men from a series of police photographs.

When detectives contacted the building’s manager, she said she was alerted to the presence of an underage female on April 4 or 5, and when she checked surveillance footage, saw a girl who looked like the alleged victim, according to court records.

The apartment complex made regional and national news in 2003 for housing the highest number of sex offenders in one location across the entire state. Then-owner Linda Wolfe-Dawidjan told the New York Times she thought housing them together was the “best shot to keep the community safe.”

None of the three defendants is on the state’s sex offender registry. All three have felony criminal history, the most extensive of which is Sherman’s, who has had six felony charges since 2013.

Sgt. Glenn Bartlett, who worked at the downtown precinct for many years, said the apartment building isn’t particularly troublesome for law enforcement.

“We go there, but it’s a lot of mentally ill people there, as well,” he said. He declined to comment further on the case, citing the need to protect the state’s evidence.

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