Former Kent pro soccer team owner found guilty of sexual assault in Arizona

Maricopa County Superior Court jury convicts Dion Earl

Dion Earl/File Photo

Dion Earl/File Photo

An Arizona jury on Thursday found a former Kent pro soccer team owner guilty of sexually assaulting two women who babysat his children in 2017 in Mesa.

Dion Earl, 47, who owned the Kent-based Seattle Impact indoor soccer team that played in 2014 at the ShoWare Center, also was found guilty of sexual abuse, kidnapping, assault and public sexual indecency by a Maricopa County Superior Court jury, according to Associated Press. Earl also is a former Kent resident before moving to Mesa a few years ago.

Earl is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 11. He has been jailed without bond since his October 2017 arrest in the case, according to Associated Press.

Prosecutors accused Earl of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman and a 21-year-old woman in separate incidents less than a month apart when he hired them to babysit his two young daughters. The women reportedly didn’t know each other and came forward with their allegations at different times.

In addition to the Arizona case, King County prosecutors filed a second-degree rape charge against Earl in June for an alleged criminal attack of a woman in Kirkland. Kirkland Police reopened a 2009 rape investigation against Earl in 2017 at the request of the victim, now 32, which resulted in the charge filed this summer.

Earl, a Seattle Pacific University star soccer player in the 1990s, also was indicted in 2018 by a federal grand jury for a massive tax fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Earl allegedly used false documents between 2008 and 2014 to lie about his income, the amount of tax dollars withheld by employers and his mortgage deductions, so that he could claim tax refunds of more than $1.1 million.

Once Earl is sentenced in Arizona, authorities will bring him to Washington state to face the federal and state charges, said an U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson. Officials will need to determine whether he first faces the state rape charge or federal tax fraud case.

While owner of the Seattle Impact in 2014, Earl came under fire from players and dance team members. He faced several legal battles. Ex-employees, in a lawsuit, accused him of having sexually assaulted two women on the dance team. The scathing lawsuit referred to Earl’s conduct as owner of the Impact as “despicable” and called him a “tyrant,” according to court documents. A massive, 22-player walkout followed in November 2014 to protest how Earl treated the dancers and employees.

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