No charges have been filed against a registered sex offender who was accused of assaulting a Lacey hotel employee with a history of her own.
Michael E. Caton, 32, was released from custody May 24 after the alleged victim told police the wrong suspect had been arrested four days earlier.
According to court documents, the female employee was working the night shift at Candlewood Suites, 4440 Third Ave. SE and was outside checking the building for trash at about 1:35 a.m. May 20.
The employee said an unknown man snuck up behind her, held her up against the building and attempted to spread her legs with his knee. She told police she hit the man in the head with a flashlight.
Lacey police arrested Caton, who was found wandering about a half-mile away. He was held on one count of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation and unlawful imprisonment.
However, after the incident, hotel managers notified Lacey police about the employee’s criminal history. The employee, Brianna Kenzie, has prior convictions related to fraud and false accusations of rape.
While in her late 20s, she posed as a high school teenager in Vancouver, Washington, named Brianna Stewart, and ended up serving three years in prison. A 2002 article in Texas Monthly profiled her as an interstate con artist and alias-prone runaway named Treva Throneberry.
During the Lacey assault investigation, Kenzie said the alleged attacker’s clothing included dirty blue jeans and canvas-style shoes, both of which Caton was wearing when he was arrested. Kenzie told police she didn’t remember what the alleged attacker looked like, but asked if she could hear the man’s voice to ensure the right suspect was in jail. Reports say she cooperated and continued to express concern about having “the right one.”
A Lacey police officer played a phone call by Caton that had been recorded at the Thurston County Jail. Kenzie listened to about five seconds of Caton’s voice, then said it did not sound like the suspect who had assaulted her.
“She was extremely concerned about making sure the wrong person wasn’t arrested. Brianna stated multiple times she wanted to be certain, that she didn’t want it to be the wrong guy because it ‘will sit on my conscience,’ ” according to the officer’s report.
Caton had given a different story. He told police that a female worker from the hotel had tried to steal his meth, and he pushed the woman away before she punched him in the face and knocked him to the ground.
Deputy prosecuting attorney Craig Juris told The Olympian that Caton is a free man and has not been charged with a crime in the case. Juris also said Kenzie has not been charged in the case.
“I have not received any reports or requests from law enforcement to look at any charges on her,” he said. “Under our requirements as prosecutors, we have a responsibility to proceed only with cases we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Kenzie said she suffered a strained shoulder, a sprained elbow and a lumbar sprain as a result of the assault. She declined to release medical records that documented her injuries, according to police.
After the incident, Kenzie was fired from her job at the hotel. The hotel managers were unaware of Kenzie’s past at the time she was hired, according to the police reports.
She now says the assault suspect had more hair than Caton and is still at large.
“I didn’t ask for that to happen,” Kenzie told The Olympian. “A victim is a victim. I was assaulted.”