Olympia police arrested a 52-year-old manager of an Olympia hair salon on suspicion of three counts of first-degree rape, based on the allegations of a 25-year-old inmate in an Idaho prison, who disclosed the abuse while in group therapy, court papers state.
Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Pomeroy on Monday ordered Mark Ford held with bail set at $10,000 on suspicion of three counts of first-degree child rape.
Although Ford is being held on suspicion of three counts, his alleged victim has estimated in court papers that “over 100 incidents of sexual abuse” occurred between him and Ford and Ford’s male ex-partner starting when the alleged victim was 7 years old.
Ford’s ex-partner has admitted to an Olympia police detective that he and Ford participated in the alleged sexual abuse, court papers state.
Olympia Police Detective Brenda Anderson said “at some point charges probably will be referred on him as well.”
Anderson said the investigation is ongoing, and that there may be other victims. However, Anderson said the crimes against the other alleged victims may be beyond the statute of limitations.
The alleged abuse of the 25-year-old who now is in Idaho occurred when Ford and the alleged victim were neighbors in the Olympia area, starting around 1991 or 1992, court papers state.
The owner of the salon where Ford works, Salon Fifth Avenue on Capitol Way in Olympia, was in court to support Ford and said she believes he is innocent.
“Yes I support him, I think he’s 100 percent innocent.” Elaine McConkey said Monday. “I’ve known him for 23 years. ... He’s a great man. He works very hard; he has no record whatsoever.”
McConkey added that the Olympia police were “unprofessional” when arresting Ford in her salon Friday while he was busy with clients. She said they announced why Ford was being arrested, slandering his name.
“Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?” she said. “This is his reputation on the line here.”
According to court papers:
Detective Anderson began her investigation in March, after getting a tip from the North Idaho Correctional Institution regarding the alleged sexual abuse of a 25-year-old. The inmate “revealed that he had been sexually molested by an adult male neighbor identified as Mark Ford.”
Anderson met with the alleged victim in May, and he told her Ford provided him with hard alcohol when the abuse occurred.
He “stated that he never disclosed these incidents to anyone and had only provided the information during a group exercise feeling it necessary to finally let it out in an effort to heal.”
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465 email@example.com