Myron Lee Jacobs, a homeless resident of Seattle’s tent encampment, faces two simultaneous rape investigations in the span of a week.
Shortly after authorities released Jacobs from the investigation of a prior rape case, police apprehended him again this week. This time, for the rape of a pregnant woman in the same homeless camp near the intersection of Sith Avenue South and Airport Way South.
Jacobs, 57, faces charges of second-degree rape, third-degree rape, and unlawful imprisonment.
Police first arrested Jacobs on April 25. Authorities were responding to a medical emergency call at the encampment when they heard a woman calling for help inside one of the tents. Shortly after, a woman emerged from the tent almost fully naked, saying she had been raped. Police went into the tent where they found Jacobs, who was also naked, and apprehended him.
The woman says Jacobs had covered her mouth to prevent her from calling out, choked, and beat her. She said she did not know Jacobs.
The Seattle Police Department and the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit began investigating the incident, but did not immediately file charges against Jacobs. Because of an absence charges within the first 72 hours after arrest, Jacobs was permitted to walk free on April 28.
On May 1 — just three days later, police responded to another incident of reported rape at the homeless camp. The victim, a woman who was seven or eight months pregnant, had agreed to go into Jacob’s tent to talk. Jacobs then allegedly assailed the victim, prevented her from leaving the tent, and proceeded to rape her.
Casey McNerthey, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesperson, says the second assault should have never occurred.
"The really heartbreaking part is that in the time that he was released because the case wasn't referred to us yet, there was a second rape that happened," said Casey McNerthney of the prosecuting attorney's office.
Seattle Sargent Patrick Michaud expressed similar frustrations, saying the delay in issuing formal charges against Jacob’s had enabled him to walk free.
"If we had met the 72-hour window to get everything done, that person probably would have still been in jail. So that definitely falls on us if it's not done within the 72 hours, and that's something that we'll take full responsibility for if it is a fault of ours or if it was something that we needed to get done," Michaud said.
Jacobs awaits trial at the King County Jail. No court date was set as of publication on Saturday.