The calm of the local public library was shattered last week when a young girl was threatened, forced into the bathroom and sexually assaulted.
The silver lining stemming from the story is the girl was physically unharmed and a suspect was quickly identified and arrested.
Travis Martin Lear, 25, now faces a charge of first-degree child molestation. That’s not uncharted territory for the Enumclaw man, who has twice been convicted of sex crimes and is a registered, Level 1 sex offender.
When Lear was formally charged Friday, prosecutors also filed notice of a special allegation that provides for a longer sentence if a sexual assault was a “predatory offense.” If a jury finds that allegation to be true, it triggers a mandatory 25-year sentence. With the special allegation, a parole board has the ability to keep an inmate in prison for life.
According to information taken from an Enumclaw Police Department press release and a “probable cause” document prepared by EPD Det. Sgt Mark Leitl, the incident unfolded like this.
On the afternoon of Jan. 30, the 11-year-old victim and her father were visiting the library. She eventually headed to the library parking lot, got into their car and was having a snack. A man approached the vehicle and ordered the girl to head into the library bathroom, threatening to kill her if she didn’t follow his orders. Fearing for her safety, the young victim complied.
The stranger, later identified as Lear, followed the girl into the bathroom and locked the door. He kissed her and molested her before becoming apologetic. The suspect said he didn’t like what he was doing but couldn’t control his “urges.” He told the victim she could leave, but not before issuing another warning: if she told anyone what happened, he said, he would kill her.
The victim ran from the building and located her father, who had been searching for her. She told her father what had happened and pointed to Lear as he was walking from the library building. The victim’s father confronted the suspect, who first denied the incident occurred and then stated he had been helping the girl find her abductor.
The suspect eventually fled, heading toward Cole Street. The arrest report shows Lear resides at a downtown hotel near the library.
The father called 911 and reported the incident. Soon, he and the victim were meeting with police, describing the suspect. The detective working the case realized Lear had been in the police station an hour earlier, meeting with a Department of Corrections officer. The DOC maintains a satellite office in the station.
Lear had been meeting with the DOC officer due to his status as a registered sex offender. He has previous convictions for third-degree rape of a child and third-degree attempted rape of a child.
During that meeting, Lear had asked permission to visit the library, a request that was denied. Surveillance video of the police station lobby verified Lear was at the station and was also used to assist with the positive identification.
Lear was found at his mother’s Enumclaw home and arrested without incident. He was initially jailed in Enumclaw and later transported to the King County jail in Seattle.
During a Thursday hearing, a judge set bail at $1 million and Lear remains behind bars. Arraignment is set for 9 a.m. Feb. 14 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.