Former Seattle Impact indoor soccer team owner Dion Earl has been extradited from Arizona to face charges in a 2009 rape case involving a Kirkland massage parlor attendant.
He was transferred to Seattle and booked Friday into the King County jail to await arraignment on a second-degree rape charge from the decade-old case — initially dropped by Kirkland police and reopened more than two years ago.
No date for the arraignment has been set, and the case might get pushed back several weeks given ongoing concerns with the coronavirus pandemic.
Earl, a onetime Seattle Pacific University soccer standout who had a brief mid-1990s professional career with the Sounders’ outdoor “A-league” team and the indoor Seattle SeaDogs, launched the Impact in 2014 to play out of the ShoWare Center in Kent as part of the fledgling Major Arena Soccer League (MASL). But before a game had been played, he was accused of sexually assaulting two members of the team’s “Ladies of Impact” all-female dance squad.
Though the King County Sheriff’s Office investigated at the time, no criminal charges were pursued. The women and other team staffers later sued Earl for harassment and other grievances — including the alleged sexual assaults — and were awarded default judgments and attorney’s fees of nearly $1 million.
The majority of Earl’s team walked out in protest of his conduct toward them, the staffers and the two dance-team members before the season began. The MASL soon forced Earl to disband the team — which had resumed playing with replacement players — and sell local territorial rights to Tacoma Stars owner Lane Smith.
That came after a December 2014 story in The Seattle Times that documented Earl’s troubled history with women, including numerous restraining orders taken out against him. He also had been named in a 2003 Times investigative story “Coaches Who Prey’’ after losing his coaching job at a Bellevue high school in 1998 for allegedly asking a female student out on a date.
During the 2014 publicity surrounding Earl, it came out that Kirkland police had never officially closed its investigation into a September 2009 case in which a massage parlor attendant claimed she had been raped after-hours by a customer pretending to be an off-duty police officer. The woman did not know the man’s identity at the time but later, with tips from the local soccer community, identified Earl to police in a photo lineup.
Earl initially denied any sexual contact with the woman, other than letting her fondle him, according to police records.
But the records say he later changed his story and claimed they’d had consensual sex. Police declined to recommend criminal charges, despite the woman providing her underwear from that night that was found to have semen on it. The Kirkland detective handling the case never attempted to obtain a DNA sample from Earl, saying in her report it would prove only that they’d had sexual intercourse and not necessarily rape.
The case remained dormant until December 2014 in what the department said was an oversight and then was officially closed. But it was reopened — at the behest of the same Kirkland massage parlor attendant — and assigned to a different detective soon after Earl’s October 2017 arrest in Arizona for assaulting the two babysitters, ages 18 and 21.
Police obtained a DNA match from Earl while in custody in Arizona, and last June, nearly a decade after the Kirkland case first opened, the criminal charge was handed down.
Earl also faces up to 10 years in prison on federal charges from 2018 that he orchestrated a tax-fraud scheme of $1.1 million between 2008 and 2014 — including in business dealings while running the Impact. That case has been stayed until Earl’s assault cases conclude.
The two Impact dance-team members who accused Earl of sexual assault in 2014 traveled to Arizona to testify at his trial in August in the separate case involving the babysitters. A former nanny also testified in that trial that Earl had molested her while on a family trip to Las Vegas.
During Earl’s sentencing in the Arizona case, the mother of one of the babysitters told the judge her daughter would never have been victimized had Earl not evaded justice in King County on multiple occasions.
“Seattle failed us, your honor,” she said. “I do not want Arizona to fail us. He left Seattle and has continued his terrorizing of young women here in Arizona and across the U.S.”