From the moment Michael Stanley showed up in Seattle, the convicted sex offender and his violent, lengthy history has sparked questions, confusion, and even outrage about why he wasn't immediately taken into custody.
Canadian authorities alerted Seattle Police when they learned he'd cut off his electronic monitoring device and was believed to be headed here. They also said he has a history of snatching young boys from playgrounds and raping elderly women and young girls.
Since he hadn't yet committed a crime in the U.S. andCanada declined to extradite him, all Seattle Police could legally do was require him to register as a sex offender here - which Stanley did.
What goes through my mind is that there are no easy answers on this, said Mary Ellen Stone, who is the Executive Director of the KingCounty Sexual Assault Resource Center.
As the head of an organization that advocates for sexual assault victims, she recognizes that Stanley's case may be frustrating to victims and their families, who wonder why he wasn't taken into custody the minute local authorities knew he was in Seattle.
We certainly hear from victims and their families saying that it feels like no one is being concerned about me as a victim, my voice isn't heard, and that there's perhaps more emphasis on the rights of the offenders than there is on the rights of the victims, she said.
The frustration regarding Stanley's case only grew on Tuesday, when he was arrested in West Seattle. He was booked on a harassment charge, but police are also looking into allegations that he sexually assaulted a sixteen-year-old boy.
So it's like, how do we prevent kids from being in those situations? said Stone. That probably is a bigger issue, I think.
Although Stanley is who everyone is focused on right now, Stone says the reality is that he's just one of many convicted sex offenders currently living in this area, who could be preying on this community.
It is happening every day. Absolutely every day, she said.
Each year, the King County Sexual AssaultResource Center works with about 3,000 victims of sexual assault or abuse. Stone says there are many more cases that go unreported.
She suggests families and communities take a pro-active approach to protecting themselves, and especially children, from sex offenders.
Stanley remains in the King County Jail on $100,000 bond. He has not yet been charged in relation to the alleged sexual assault