Police arrest convicted arsonist in groping case

EVERETT — A convicted abortion-clinic arsonist accused of groping a girl in Snohomish last month is behind bars after several days on the run.

An observant Pierce County sheriff’s deputy found Curtis Beseda late Monday night sleeping inside a minivan parked outside a golf course near Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.

The deputy noticed that van was parked at least 30 feet away from any other cars. A check of the license plate alerted the deputy that the van belonged to Beseda, who had a $250,000 warrant for his arrest and was identified as a “violent offender,” the police report said.

Beseda was ordered out of the van at gunpoint. He told the deputy he was aware that there was a warrant for his arrest but said he wasn’t sure why he was wanted, according to the deputy’s report. He declined to answer any other questions.

Beseda was booked Tuesday morning into Snohomish County Jail.

The next step for Beseda will be a court hearing in the coming days to answer to a first-degree child molestation charge stemming from the Jan. 27 incident at the Snohomish Fred Meyer.

An 11-year-old girl reported that a stranger groped her while she was waiting for her father outside the store restroom. The girl said the man attempted to lure her outside and then rubbed his hands on her backside. He walked away when a coffee shop employee approached the pair.

Several people reportedly identified Beseda, 58, from the video footage released to media last week.

Beseda made headlines here in the 1980s when he was convicted of burning abortion clinics in Everett and Bellingham. He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

After serving time for parole violations, he ultimately was released in 2003 and has been in and out of trouble with the law over the past decade.

He faced an attempted arson charge in Snohomish in 2004.

He was ordered to receive a mental-health evaluation in connection with that case, court records show.

The charge was reduced to misdemeanor reckless burning and a jury later acquitted him after a trial.

Everett police records show Beseda was involved in trespassing and obstruction cases in 2004 and 2005 involving Immaculate Conception Church in Everett.

He was convicted of first-degree criminal trespass and banned from the church and school grounds, court records show.

In 2010, Beseda was arrested again in a harassment case in Puyallup. He later was convicted of the fourth-degree assault and was sent to a state mental hospital.

As of September 2010, he told the court he was still in mental-health treatment. He was being monitored in that case until late 2011.

Police had been searching for Beseda since last week when at least eight different people reported that the suspect in the groping case resembled the Snohomish man.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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