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Tent City resident of former Kirkland encampment charged with child rape
A jury found a man, who resided at the former Tent City 4 encampment in Kirkland last October, guilty of three counts of first-degree child rape and two counts of first-degree child molestation on Oct. 16 at Pierce County Superior Court.
Robert Bruce McKay-Erskine, 36, was charged with the crimes last November after Tacoma police arrested the man in Kirkland. He was living at the former homeless encampment at St. John Mary Vianney Catholic Church.
According to charging documents, McKay-Erskine sexually abused a relative who was 6-years-old at the time, on several occasions between August 2011 and May 2012 in Tacoma.
His arrest on Nov. 7, 2012 prompted parish staff to meet with Tent City staff to discuss implementing a system of random weekly sexual-offender checks for residents.
Though the weekly checks were ultimately never implemented, the decision caused a dispute between camp residents and the group that operates the camp, SHARE/WHEEL. The organization’s leaders said Tent City staff made the decision to implement the random checks without SHARE’s approval.
About 20 outraged residents moved to Lake Washington United Methodist Church in Kirkland to form a new camp - Camp Unity Eastside.
City of Kirkland officials said outside of this incident, they have not had any problems with the homeless encampment, which is currently set up in Issaquah.
McKay-Erskine’s sentencing is set for 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 15 at Pierce County Superior Court.