February 27, 2009

Curtis Allen Rapp sentenced; Man taught at day care center

By LEVI PULKKINEN, Seattle Post Intelligencer

February 27, 2009

For nearly 40 years, admitted child molester and former day care worker Curtis Allen Rapp was safe in the silence of the world's not knowing what he had done.

He was never made to pay for his crimes until Friday, when a judge sent him to prison.

While undergoing psychological assessment in an effort to avoid prison, Rapp, 50, told therapists he'd molested at least 23 children before Seattle police arrested him in March on suspicion of molesting a 9-year-old girl at a Crown Hill child care center where he worked.

Prosecutors formally accused Rapp several days later, filing two counts of first-degree child molestation, according to court documents. The move marked the first time Rapp had been called to account for his alleged attacks since he first molested a child at age 12.

Facing King County Superior Court Judge Susan Craighead on Friday, Rapp and his attorney urged the judge to sentence him to intensive sex offender treatment instead of prison. Rapp had pleaded guilty to the two charges against him and been evaluated by treatment professionals, actions required to be eligible for the deferred sentence he'd requested.

Rapp apologized for the offense, offered to pray for his victim and her family and urged the judge to show leniency for his children's sake.

Craighead was not persuaded.

"I am a person who believes in rehabilitation," she told Rapp from the bench. "But I don't believe I can release you and protect the community."

Following Deputy Prosecutor Shelby Smith's request, Craighead sentenced Rapp to a 5 1/2 -year-minimum prison term. Under that sentence, Rapp will remain confined until a state board deems that he no longer threatens the community.

In the case in question, Rapp was accused of molesting a girl at Small Faces Child Development Center, where he was a teacher from 2000 until his arrest last year. According to police statements, the girl told her parents that Rapp had touched her at least three times at the center; he later admitted as much to police, saying the girl gave him permission to touch her.

Addressing the court, the girl's father argued forcefully against releasing Rapp into treatment.

"The community has put up with this crap for 20 years," he argued. "No one can convince me that any amount of treatment will fix him."

Arguing against Rapp's release, Smith noted that, though he had already admitted to nearly two-dozen assaults on children, evaluators aren't sure whether Rapp divulged the true extent of his crimes.

Rapp admitted molesting boys and girls in Washington and Texas, where he taught for 16 years before moving to Seattle.

Rapp, she said, sought out positions of authority over children.

"When he's in control of kids, he can't control himself," Smith said. "Nobody," she added, "ever said anything until now."

Smith said the King County Prosecutor's Office will pursue additional charges against Rapp should additional victims come forward.


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