Crime

Olympia transient accused of raping 16-year-old girl

A 40-year-old Olympia transient is charged with third-degree rape after he is accused of raping a 16-year-old girl under the Fourth Avenue bridge.

Donald D. Harris was arrested Tuesday and appeared in Thurston County Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon. He is being held in the Thurston County Jail, and Judge James Dixon set bail at $250,000.

Olympia police Lt. Paul Lower said the girl had been waiting for a bus at the Olympia Transit Center at about 8:30 a.m. when she met Harris, whom she already knew. The two talked and walked away from the bus stop.

When the two reached the Fourth Avenue bridge, they left the road and the man raped the girl, Lower said.

The girl fled, and contacted the police. She was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. She was able to provide the name of the suspect, Lower said.

The suspect is known to police as an Olympia transient, and he was arrested a short time later.

Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Olivia Zhou suggested that bail be set at $250,000 because of Harris’ prior convictions. He was convicted of second-degree assault in 2004, child rape in 2006 and failure to register as a sex offender in 2008.

The 2004 assault was his first strike offense, and a third-degree rape conviction would be his second strike offense, Zhou said.

“It is of great concern to the state that he has a violent criminal history and that he was convicted in similar case from 2006,” Zhou said.

Office of Assigned Counsel attorney Sara Hixson argued that bail should instead be set at $5,000, as Harris wouldn’t be able to come up with $250,000.

“Anything more than that would be impossible for Mr. Harris to post,” Hixson said.

The judge agreed with Zhou’s recommendation. He also decided that Harris would only be released to a confirmed address.

“That wouldn’t include under the Fourth Avenue bridge where it is alleged that Mr. Harris is currently residing,” Dixon said.

Harris’ arraignment was set for Feb. 27 at 10 a.m.

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