EVERETT — A serial rapist who referred to himself as “the gentleman rapist” and who once said he could be end up being another Ted Bundy was charged this week with second-degree assault with sexual motivation for allegedly grabbing and kissing a 19-year-old woman against her will near the Arlington Airport in April.
The Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office filed the charge Wednesday against Robert Raymond Raethke, 59, and sought $1 million bail.
According to court documents, a 19-year-woman was walking her dog on a trail near the Arlington Airport April 30 when she passed a man later identified as Raethke, who smiled at her. They both said hi as they passed. The woman walked down the trail, came to an end and turned back. At that point, and the defendant stopped right in front of her, the documents said.
“He repeatedly told her she was beautiful. He then asked if he could have a hug,” the documents said. The woman, who had worked in nursing homes and was used to being asked for hugs, put her arm up to tap the man on the back briefly, the papers said.
“He stepped forward and grabbed her in a ‘bear hug’ around the waist,” the documents said. She struggled to get away and yelled at him to get off her and let her go. “The defendant kissed the side of her neck” and tried to kiss her on the mouth, the documents said.
She managed to break and away and told him she was calling the police, at which time he jogged down the trail.
Police said their investigation led them to Raethke because he was wearing a Department of Corrections’ GPS monitoring bracelet and that data from it showed he was at that location at that time.
Detective Peter Barrett said that, in an interview, Raethke admitted he kissed the woman on the neck but denied the kissing was sexual in nature.
“I told Raethke that I disagreed with him, and that I had researched his previous offenses,” Barrett said. “I told Raethke that the incident the previous day closely matched the modus operandi (M.O.) from his past incidents. I told Raethke that I was concerned he was ‘slipping.’ Raethke stated ‘I would agree with you.’ Raethke stated that he felt he was ‘falling back.'”
In 1985, Raethke was convicted of four counts of first-degree rape, one count of kidnapping and one count of attempted rape. In all of the cases, between 1982 and 1983, he grabbed teenage females in wooded areas and forcibly engaged in sexual contact and intercourse, the court documents said.
After his conviction, Raethke remained in prison until 2012. While in treatment in prison, the court documents said, Raethke said that if he had not been stopped he could have been another “Ted Bundy,” who in the 1970s raped and murdered dozens of women in several states.
The court documents said, “The defendant called himself ‘the gentleman rapist,’ saying that he was nice to his victims because he sometimes walked them back to the trail where he abducted them.”
Upon his release from prison, Raethke was initially placed in a sex offender home in Marysville, but moved after young females working at nearby espresso stand said he was hanging around and “creeping them out.” He was then moved to a sex offender home in Arlington.
The prosecutor’s office said that if he is convicted of the new offense, Raethke would be a “persistent offender” and would be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of early release.
His next court date is July 10.