Earl was arrested in Mesa, Ariz., after two women say they were held against their will and molested at his Arizona home. Charges include sexual assault, kidnapping and sexual abuse.
A former owner of the defunct Seattle Impact indoor soccer team has been arrested in Arizona on charges that include sexual assault, kidnapping and sexual abuse.
Dion Earl, 45, who owned the Kent-based Impact during the 2014 season of the Major Arena Soccer League, is being held without bail pending a Nov. 7 preliminary hearing. He was arrested Saturday after two women, ages 21 and 18, and hired separately to baby-sit his children in Mesa, Ariz., complained to police that they had been held against their will and molested inside his home.
Earl faces three felony counts of sexual assault, kidnapping and sexual abuse as well as two misdemeanor counts of assault and sexual indecency. A probable cause statement from the Mesa Police Department says the incidents occurred Sept. 12 and Oct. 22 and that the two alleged victims in the case did not know each other prior to contacting police.
The probable cause report also makes passing reference to a 2014 case in Kent, where two Impact team dancers told police Earl had molested them in two separate incidents both at his private residence and at a strip club where he had taken one of them for a business meeting.
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The King County Prosecutors Office declined to file criminal charges after the women complained. But the two dance team members and a handful of other Impact staffers both male and female later filed a lawsuit against Earl – alleging varying degrees of harassment both sexual and non-sexual — and received a default judgment of just under $1 million in damages and legal fees.
Jason Rittereiser, a Seattle-based employment attorney – and current 8th district congressional candidate – represented the women against Earl and said Tuesday a lien remains on the former soccer owner’s Kent home as they seek to collect on damages.
Earl was forced to disband the Impact shortly after a Seattle Times front-page story about the sexual assault allegations and the fact 22 of his players had quit the team in protest.
The Times story further indicated how Earl had a nearly two-decades-long history of misconduct allegations brought against him by women, including five protection orders from 1998-2014. He also was dismissed from a high school coaching job in Bellevue when a 17-year-old cheerleader told officials he’d asked her out on a date.
Kirkland police investigated Earl in late 2009 on suspicion of second degree rape after a massage parlor employee complained she’d been sexually assaulted during an appointment. Earl told police in a written statement he’d had sexual intercourse with the woman at her suggestion.
Police declined to forward that case to prosecutors, citing a lack of evidence the sex was non-consensual.
Since disbanding the Impact, Earl had split his time between his residences in Kent and Mesa. After his arrest Saturday, he told police he travels to Seattle weekly to conduct business.
In the Mesa case, the 21-year-old told police she’d been hired through a reputable babysitting service and had known Earl only about an hour when she was assaulted at his home. She told police he’d asked her to check on his young girls in his bedroom, but when she entered Earl was completely naked and pinned her on to his bed.
He is then said to have slid his hand down her pants and sexually assaulted her. Later, she said he took her hand and placed it over his penis in a fist.
When she finally got free and started to leave, she said Earl offered her $100 to keep quiet. She said she refused the money and reported the incident to police.
The second alleged victim says she was babysitting for Earl when he asked her in to his bedroom and gave her a prolonged hug. At one point, she says she told Earl she wanted to leave, but he kept her in an embrace and purposely toppled them on to a bed.
She told police she was pinned beneath Earl, who slid his hands down her pants and groped her buttocks. After she freed herself and tried to leave, she told police Earl restrained her and forced her to watch him masturbate in front of her.
The report says Earl initially denied to police investigators that any intimate activity had occurred, but then, under further questioning, changed his story into one where he admitted having voluntary sexual contact with them. The report says Earl’s story “evolved into … describing the victims as being sexually aggressive towards him, which lacked sense and credibility.’’
It says the victims immediately gave more credible stories, independent of one another, with plenty of details.