A man charged with luring a developmentally disabled girl away from a Tacoma Safeway store eight years ago and sexually assaulting her pleaded not guilty this week to two felonies.
Pierce County prosecutors in May 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. He instead took her into an alley and assaulted her, prosecutors contend.
He was being sought on a warrant when he was arrested this week. He made his first appearance in Superior Court Thursday, where he was ordered jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.
The case had gone cold until earlier this year 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.