Former Seattle Impact indoor soccer team owner Dion Earl has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for a decade-old Kirkland rape and faces additional prison time next month when he’s expected to plead guilty to orchestrating a federal tax fraud scheme.
An arraignment hearing has been set for Jan. 11 in the tax fraud case and should conclude the final of three major criminal investigations into Earl, 48, that so far have landed him more than 14 years of prison time. The onetime Seattle Pacific University standout, former Seattle Sea Dogs professional indoor player and brief outdoor player for an earlier incarnation of the Sounders, already is serving a 12-year prison term in Arizona for having sexually assaulted two women there who he’d hired to babysit for his children in late 2017.
The Kirkland case, in which Earl pleaded guilty in September to a charge of third degree felony rape, dates to Sept. 27, 2009. A massage parlor attendant told Kirkland police she’d been raped after-hours by a customer not previously known to her but who she later identified as Earl through photographs and industry acquaintances.
Earl at first denied raping the woman, but then claimed they’d had consensual sex while alone in the massage parlor. Police let the case lapse several years and then officially closed it – citing a lack of evidence – before reopening it under a different lead investigator shortly after Earl’s arrest in Arizona.
King County prosecutors had recommended the 33-month term – the lowest end of the typical 33- to 43-month range for those with similar prior criminal convictions – as part of a plea agreement reached with Earl. He also must register as a sex offender upon release and pay financial restitution to his victim.
Last Friday, before the sentence was imposed in King County Superior Court, the woman Earl raped read a statement to him remotely by courtroom speakerphone in which she described “agonizing’’ flashbacks and years of hating herself, culminating in suicidal thoughts and nearly drowning herself in a bathtub one Thanksgiving.
“The first couple of years, I was a reckless mess,’’ said the woman, now in her mid-30s. “Years later, I would come to realize that I kept giving you my power by not living my life — letting the cruel thing you did to me ruin my life.’’
The woman, a single mother raising a young daughter at the time of her rape, told Earl she’d feared he would kill her that night and she’d never see her child again. She told him she’d never recovered from how “you paraded me around a room and directed me’’ both while raping her and making her clean off afterwards.
“You are worse than a nightmare,’’ she told him. “How anyone could commit the heinous acts you have on multiple women – I know there has to be more victims out there than those who have come forward. How can the father of a daughter ever treat women the way you have?’’
Earl came under scrutiny in 2014 when he became owner of the Kent-based Impact pro indoor team in the Major Arena Soccer League. After just one regular-season game, 22 of his players walked out on him shortly after two members of the Impact’s all-female dance team accused Earl of sexually assaulting them.
The King County Sheriff’s Office dropped that case for a lack of evidence, though the two dancers and four other former team staffers later won nearly $1 million in damages and court fees from Earl in a civil lawsuit alleging sexual assault, harassment and unfair treatment by him.
A Seattle Times story on the Impact dancers’ allegations in December 2014 outlined Earl’s lengthy history of alleged misconduct toward women — including the 2009 Kirkland rape investigation and several restraining orders against him. A 2003 Times investigation, “Coaches who Prey,’’ also detailed how Earl lost a high school coaching job in Bellevue in 1998 for asking a 17-year-old cheerleader for a date.
Earl often commuted between residences in Kent and Arizona. After his Arizona arrest for sexually assaulting the babysitters in October 2017, the two former Impact dance team members were flown to Phoenix to testify about their experiences with Earl during his August 2019 trial.
Earl testified that the women were lying, as were the Arizona babysitters, but a jury convicted him on all six counts. The Kirkland rape for which Earl pleaded guilty is the only time he’s ever admitted to committing sexual violence against a woman, stating his victim “did not consent to sexual intercourse and that was clearly expressed by her actions.”
The 33-month sentence was imposed consecutively to – meaning, it gets added on top of — the 12-year term in the Arizona case and any coming penalty in the tax case. Earl faces up to 10 years in prison in that tax case, in which he’s accused of bilking the government of $1.1 million by misstating revenues from the Impact, other businesses and interest he paid on mortgages.
By pleading guilty next month – after several months of negotiations with federal authorities – he’ll likely be subjected to only a small fraction of that maximum possible sentence. But he’ll also be required to pay a hefty financial amount as restitution.