Former Kent soccer team owner sentenced to 12 years for sexual assaults

Dion Earl receives sentence in Arizona

Dion Earl, Courtesy Photo Maricopa County Jail

Dion Earl, Courtesy Photo Maricopa County Jail

A former Kent pro soccer team owner received a 12-year prison sentence in Arizona for the 2017 sexual assaults of two women who babysat his children in Mesa.

Dion Earl, 47, was sentenced Oct. 11 by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Suzanne Cohen, according to the Arizona Republic website at azcentral.com. He also received a lifetime of probation.

A jury in August found Earl, who owned the Kent-based Seattle Impact indoor soccer team that played in 2014 at the ShoWare Center, guilty of sexual assault, sexual abuse, kidnapping, assault and public sexual indecency. He has been jailed in Phoenix without bond since his October 2017 arrest in the case for 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.

“Dion Earl terrorized many women over the years,” according to an email from the victims’ attorney Benjamin Taylor to the Arizona Republic. “Justice was served today for the victims who he assaulted.”

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 in June.

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.

Authorities are expected to bring Earl to Washington state to face the federal and state charges, but 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.

In January 2015, the Tacoma Stars replaced the Impact in the Major Arena Soccer League when Lane Smith bought the rights to the team. Earl later moved from Kent to Arizona.

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