A nationwide arrest warrant has been issued for a man charged with luring a developmentally disabled girl away from a Tacoma Safeway store eight years ago and sexually assaulting her.
Pierce County prosecutors on Tuesday charged Jerry Lee Swagerty, 46, with first-degree child rape and first-degree child molestation. Prosecutors say Swagerty offered the girl, then 10, $10 to help him look for his girlfriend, court records show.
The girl had gone to the store with her father. The father sent her to fetch a cart, the records show. When she didn’t return immediately, he went outside to look for her.
He found her about 10 minutes later, and she told him and a Tacoma police officer parked nearby that a man had performed oral sex on her in a nearby alley, court records show.
“Tacoma police investigated the case and had a person of interest who passed a polygraph indicating he was not the assailant,” deputy prosecutor Grant Blinn wrote in court records.
The case went cold until last month when technicians at the Washington State Patrol crime laboratory submitted a report to prosecutors indicating they’d found DNA evidence on a pair of the girl’s underpants that detectives took as evidence in 2004.
They matched some of that to Swagerty, whose DNA is on file with the state because he’s been convicted of several felonies since 1986, according to state court records.
Those include drug possession, theft, burglary and robbery. Swagerty previously lived in Florida.email@example.com