Police used cell phone video of a man sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl to track down a suspect, court records show.
Pierce County prosecutors on Wednesday charged Robert Michael Comte, 32, with one count of first-degree child rape and one count of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. They allege it is Comte assaulting the girl in the video on the phone, which had been donated to Tacoma Goodwill.
Not-guilty pleas were entered on his behalf Friday during an arraignment in Superior Court. Judge Katherine Stolz ordered Comte jailed with bail set at $500,000.
On May 25, a woman given a donated phone from the Goodwill store on East 72nd Street found a photo of a naked girl in the phone’s archives. She also found a video of a man sexually assaulting the girl, who appeared to be between 3 and 5 years old, court records state.
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The woman turned the phone over to police.
Detectives used information on the phone to identify a number of people who know Comte, including a woman who said the phone belonged to him.
The same woman told detectives that Comte and his girlfriend baby-sat her young daughter recently, court records state.
Detectives found a “distinctive blanket” at the woman’s home that matches one seen in the video, the documents state. They also found underpants in the home similar to those worn by the girl on the video, according to the documents.
The woman tearfully told detectives that Comte had been using drugs recently and once confided to her that a baby sitter sexually abused him when he was a boy, the documents state.