Kent man charged in assault of female patient

DNA tests lead to arrest

King County prosecutors on Tuesday charged a 31-year-old Kent man with second-degree rape for allegedly raping and impregnating a physically and mentally disabled woman at a Kent assisted-living facility.

Joseph W. Thurura, who was the 44-year-old woman’s caregiver, will be arraigned Wednesday at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Thurura remains at the RJC on $250,000 bail. Kent Police arrested Thurura June 17 for investigation of second-degree rape, after picking him up in the parking lot of the assisted-living facility where he was working, and where the woman resided.

Prosecutors said in the charging papers that the woman is legally blind and unable to speak. She has the cognitive level of an 11-month-old child and is incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse because she is physically helpless and mentally incapacitated.

“The level of abuse of this very vulnerable victim, as alleged in this case, is appalling and it is a crime that deserves a long prison sentence,” King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg stated Tuesday in a media release.

DNA test results after the woman’s miscarriage March 10 led investigators to Thurura.

According to charging papers, Thurura had worked at the facility, located at 655 W. Smith St., since September 2006.

The woman had been taken to the Auburn Regional Medical Center for a bloody vaginal discharge inconsistent with her normal menstrual cycle. A doctor determined she had had a miscarriage.

The woman was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for further evaluation. Doctors obtained a small fetus tissue sample that tested for a second DNA profile in addition to the woman’s DNA profile.

Kent Police detectives worked with the Washington State Patrol crime lab to match the DNA, and reportedly made a match with Thurura to the tissue sample. A state scientist estimated Thurura’s probable paternity at 99.9 percent, according to charging documents.

Kent detectives interviewed all of the men who worked at assisted-living facility and who had had contact with the woman since September of 2007. Detectives took oral swabs from each man for DNA samples.

Thurura told detectives in a March 26 interview that he had never had sexual intercourse with the woman, according to charging papers. After the DNA results came back from the state on June 17, detectives arrested Thurura for investigation of second-degree rape.

During a more than two-hour interview on June 17, Thurura told detectives he did not know what happened and he did not know how he could be the father.

Prosecutors allege that Thurura had sexual intercourse with the woman between Dec. 1, 2007 and March 18, 2008.

If convicted of second-degree rape, Thurura could face a prison sentence of 6 1/2 years to 12 1/2 years.

Satterberg said his office also would review legal options to seek an exceptional sentence.

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