Convicted arsonist arrested in Pierce County child-molestation case

The Seattle TimesFebruary 12, 2014 

A convicted abortion-clinic arsonist who was wanted for allegedly molesting an 11-year-old girl in Snohomish last month was arrested near Tacoma on Monday after he was discovered sleeping in his minivan, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Curtis Anton Beseda, 58, of Snohomish, appeared to be sleeping in the back of his Mercury Villager, which was parked on Park Avenue South near Pacific Lutheran University, shortly before 11 p.m. when the vehicle was spotted by a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy, police said.

The deputy ran the license-plate number of the vehicle, which looked suspicious because of the way it was parked, and discovered the registered owner was wanted on a felony arrest warrant, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

“The warrant had a caution that Beseda has been identified as a violent offender, and extreme caution should be used when contacting him,” the deputy wrote in his report.

While the deputy waited for backup, Beseda sat up and began moving and the deputy ordered him to put his hands in the air, according to the report. Beseda was ordered out of the vehicle and taken into custody, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

He was booked into the Snohomish County Jail on Tuesday morning, where he is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail, jail records show.

According to Snohomish County Superior Court documents charging him with first-degree child molestation, Beseda allegedly approached an 11-year-old girl who was waiting for her father outside a restroom at the Fred Meyer in Snohomish on Jan. 27.

Beseda pressed his body against the girl and fondled her, prosecutors wrote in the affidavit of probable cause. He left when a Starbucks employee approached, prosecutors said.

Last week, police released images taken from the store’s video surveillance in the hope of identifying the groping suspect, prosecutors said.

Beseda was identified as the man in the photos by at least eight callers, including two former classmates and his upstairs neighbor.

Beseda served 12 years in federal prison for setting three fires at an abortion clinic in Everett and one fire at a Bellingham women’s health clinic where abortions were performed in 1983 and 1984.

He has a history that includes involuntary mental-health evaluations and criminal convictions for trespassing and assault, court records show.

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