Police search for suspect after 13-year-old girl is sexually assaulted at Bitter Lake

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(Credit: KCPQ-TV)

SEATTLE — Police are still searching for the man who allegedly sexually assaulted a teenager at a local park. They say a 13-year-old girl ran to the Bitter Lake Community Center, after she was able to get away from her attacker. She was taken to the hospital to be checked out. He hasn’t been caught yet

Grant Bender was surprised when he came to Bitter Lake yesterday afternoon, and saw police officers.

“I heard the assault happened down at the end,” he says. “They had taped it off.”

Police say the victim had been listening to music when a man called her name. She thought she knew him, so she walked over. That’s when she says he grabbed her and dragged her to a secluded area near the water.

“The people I’ve talked to in the neighborhood are pretty upset by it,” says Steve Sorbo, who lives near the park. He says he always considered it a safe place for kids and families.

“I’ve got 6 grandkids and I’ve been bringing them here for years. I keep a close eye on them and there’s usually no problem here.”

But he says there has been an increase in the number of homeless people in the area.

“I have been noticing some unsavory characters, hanging out and drinking. I’m not surprised something happened over there, because it is kind of isolated when you get to that part. I hope the cops come around a little more often because of that.”

“They should have a little bit more of a presence here than they do,” Bender adds.

The suspect, who was described as a 40-year-old white man with a heavy build, was last seen leaving the park on Bitter Place North. Parents and family members say until he’s caught, they’ll be more careful with their kids.

“It makes me a little nervous,” admits Tia Johnson, who took her niece to the park Saturday. “I’m obviously keeping a better watch on her now.”

If you have any information about this case, please call 911 or contact SPD detectives at (206) 684-5575.

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