Beaten man charged with rape

June 15, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

The man beaten into a coma after a reported rape at a downtown Issaquah house last month has been charged with rape.

Steven McCanless, a 31-year-old Kirkland resident, faces a second-degree rape charge in King County Superior Court. Prosecutors filed the charge June 10, almost three weeks after Issaquah police discovered McCanless in a pool of blood after two men — including the husband of the 22-year-old Bellevue woman who reported the rape — beat him with a brick and a rubber mallet.

Issaquah officers responded to a reported rape at a residence in the 400 block of Northeast Birch Street at about 2 a.m. May 23. Officers discovered McCanless lying on the floor, beaten and bloody. He spent at least part of the week after the attack in a coma at Harborview Medical Center.

Officers arrested the two men — the husband, a 31-year-old Bellevue man, and a 30-year-old Issaquah man — for the beating. Prosecutors did not file charges against the assault suspects, but could decide to do so in the future.

Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, said assault charges hinge on the extent of the injuries McCanless sustained in the attack — or if the injuries turn out to be permanent — and whether the men acted to defend the woman.

Goodhew said investigators continue to gather statements from witnesses to the assault, and prosecutors should decide whether to file charges within the next several weeks.

The incident occurred after the group gathered at a downtown Issaquah bar to celebrate a birthday.

The woman told police she had drinks with friends at about 6 p.m. and joined her husband, McCanless and other acquaintances at Time Out Sports Bar. She ordered a drink, but felt ill and had her husband walk with her to a friend’s house. She told police he helped her change into pajamas, and she fell asleep on a mattress on the living room floor at about 11 p.m.

She said she awoke to find McCanless fondling her buttocks and genitals, court documents state.

The circumstances for second-degree rape include acts against a sleeping or incapacitated person. Under state law, a first-degree rape occurs if the attacker uses a weapon or inflicts serious physical injury to the victim.

The woman then grabbed her mobile phone and fled to the bathroom to call a friend who lived at the house.

The friend received the call as she and other members of the group, including the husband of the woman who reported the rape, walked from Time Out Sports Bar to the residence. The friend told him to head to the house because McCanless had raped the woman, the documents state.

The group discovered McCanless “passed out on the couch;” the men pulled McCanless from the couch, and he told them “she wanted it,” court documents state.

The remark angered the Issaquah man, and he grabbed the mallet and hit McCanless in the jaw. He told police he did not mean to hurt McCanless, so he struck him in the legs instead, breaking the mallet in the process, the documents continue. Police later recovered the broken, bloodstained mallet.

The husband told police he hit McCanless with a brick, and then tossed it into the yard. Investigators could not locate the brick.

McCanless suffered a broken jaw and left eye socket, sinus injuries, facial and head lacerations, and blood on the brain.

McCanless later told police he had been drinking heavily. He said he drank a double Scotch before the group left the residence, and then three Jack Daniels and Cokes at the bar.

McCanless told police he left the bar after he felt intoxicated, and headed to the house. He noticed the woman asleep on the mattress, and fell asleep on the couch, court documents state. McCanless said he and the woman did not interact; he told police he awoke after he heard the assault suspects yelling.

McCanless has a long criminal history, including prior convictions for second-degree burglary, vehicle theft, obstruction, possession of drug paraphernalia, harassment, theft, vehicle prowling and criminal trespassing.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Cecelia Gregson on June 10 filed for a warrant to have McCanless arrested. She also asked a judge to order him held at the King County Jail on $100,000 bail.

McCanless will appear in court June 24. He will be booked into the King County Jail after his physicians deem him medically fit for incarceration. Goodhew said authorities continue to monitor his whereabouts until he can be jailed.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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