King County prosecutors say Duane Atwood remains the lead suspect in three incidents during which a driver was seen masturbating by women he'd tricked into looking in his car. Atwood, 37, has been charged with indecent exposure in one incident, as well as failing to register as a sex offender.
A West Seattle resident himself, Atwood was convicted in 2000 of burglary and arson after he was caught painting the word "Rape" on the door of a home occupied by two women. He burglarized the home, burned their deck and left pornography behind; in a call to the women the next day, he said he was coming back to rape them.
Atwood served two years in state prison for the sexually motivated attack. He opted out of sex offender treatment and was labeled a "dangerous mentally ill offender" upon his release.
He was ordered to register as a sex offender, an obligation prosecutors now say he's failed to meet.
"The defendant is an untreated, unregistered sex offender who has exhibited dangerous, unpredictable and threatening behavior," Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom said in charging papers. "The state believes the defendant poses an extreme risk to the community."
Describing the charged incident, a Seattle detective said a 48-year-old woman was walking near the Cormorant Cove boat launch on July 22 when Atwood stopped his Nissan Pathfinder and called to her.
Atwood asked the woman for directions. According to charging papers, the woman stepped to Atwood's car to give them and saw he was masturbating.
The woman called 911 and relayed the car's license plate number. Officers tracked the car to an Arch Avenue Southwest home where Atwood was living; police say Atwood was also residing in the 2000 block of Belvidere Avenue Southwest.
Investigators soon realized Atwood was a sex offender required to register his address with authorities.
Writing the court, the detective said he'd failed to do so since arriving in Washington at least two years before. Police examined Atwood's Facebook page and learned the handyman had been working in the area for several years.
The detective said two other flashing incidents - on July 15 in the 4000 block of Southwest Stevens Street and July 17 near the intersection of 36th Avenue Southwest and Southwest Myrtle Street - were similar to the July 22 incident. In each, a man matching Atwood's description was seen masturbating in a car in a manner meant to be seen by onlookers.
The woman accosted on July 22 subsequently identified Atwood as her assailant. She told police he may have been wearing a wig during the incident.
Interviewed by police, Atwood first claimed he didn't know he had to register as a sex offender upon his return from Boise, Idaho in late 2010, the detective said in court papers. He went on to make odd claims, among them that he was to attend "Northwestern College" on a Fulbright scholarship to study "biblical psychology" but was unable to do so after his criminal history was discovered.
A woman previously threatened by Atwood told police he knew well that he had to register with authorities wherever he lived.
"It was always on his radar," the woman said, according to charging papers. "He hated the fact that he had to register."
Atwood denied exposing himself to the woman. He also claimed he doesn't have a history of mental illness, as documented by the legal system.
Atwood has been jailed since July 30. Now charged with felony indecent exposure and failure to register as a sex offender, he is currently held on $250,000 bail.