EVERETT — Over the past several years, multiple women and men have reported being sexually assaulted by the owner of a prominent bar in downtown Everett, according to police.
Christian Sayre, 35, who has owned The Anchor Pub since 2014, was arrested Friday evening and booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of two counts of second-degree rape and one count of indecent liberties.
In a news release on Saturday, Everett police said an investigation turned up victims who have reported in recent years that they went to the bar in the 1000 block of Hewitt Avenue, “where they only had a few drinks but had no recollection of what occurred afterward. … Upon waking up, the victims believed they had been sexually assaulted.”
The Anchor sits in a wedge-shaped building at the westernmost edge of Hewitt, a few feet from a rail line that runs through Everett, where bartenders have been serving drinks since 1907, according to a history on the bar’s website. In more recent years, the Anchor built a reputation as one of the liveliest, busiest music venues in town, especially for local bands.
In 2020, a woman went to the bar with friends and only had a couple of drinks, according to the news release. She reported not being able to remember much of the night, though she recalled being in an office with the bar’s owner and another man. She believed the two men sexually assaulted her. She went to a hospital for an examination the next day. Test results confirmed sexual contact.
In another case, a woman told police she was sexually assaulted by Sayre at his home nearby, according to a 2017 Everett Police Department report.
After multiple reports in recent years, it was unclear why police arrested Sayre this week.
The woman who spoke with police in 2017 said she had been out at bars with friends one night in downtown Everett. Sayre was part of the group. She knew him as a former coworker and friend — she trusted him, she told The Daily Herald in an interview Saturday.
That night she fell down on the sidewalk outside The Anchor and broke skin on her knees and head.
“I was freaking out,” she wrote in a statement to police. “Christian Sayre walked me across the street to his house. When we got inside he put a paper towel against my head. He took me into the bathroom to put some ointment on it and clean it. I dropped my phone, and when I went to pick it up, he stopped me. I thought it was because he was afraid I’d fall again.”
The woman left the bathroom, went to a couch and started crying, she reported. Sayre sat down next to her and tried to kiss her, she said in her statement. She pushed Sayre away, but that did not stop his advances. He sexually assaulted her, she reported. Sayre yelled at her as she tried to escape his home that night, she wrote. She managed to find her other friends.
A friend of the woman, Ben Scott, says he has tried to call attention to Sayre’s behavior since the woman confided in him in 2017. In an interview with The Herald, Scott said he posted warnings on Facebook, hoping to alert people.
Scott, a longtime Everett resident and employee of another downtown bar, said he has been contacted by several other victims.
“I’ve had a numerous amount of them reach out to me privately, begging not to have their stories made public because they were afraid,” Scott said in an interview with The Herald. “This man had status. He had power and influence.”
After Scott’s post, music bookings slowed at the Anchor as word got out that the owner had been accused of sexual assault, according to multiple sources familiar with the music scene.
Sayre lived less than a block from the bar in 2017. Scott said Sayre’s home “was known as the frat house because its tenants were notorious for having girls over and getting them drunk.”
“It didn’t surprise me to hear it when the police reached out to me years later during this active investigation,” Scott said.
Scott expressed frustration that the investigation took as long as it did, but he was relieved Sayre had been arrested.
“When a woman makes an accusation, it becomes her word versus the word of the person she’s accusing,” Scott said. “That’s why a lot of these women were afraid to come forward.”
Scott’s friend said: “I want all the other women to know that I stand with them, and I believe them.” She cried as she spoke on the phone. “I want them to know that we’re trying to make the community safe again.”
The front entrance to The Anchor was padlocked Saturday afternoon at a time the bar was typically open. Instagram and Facebook accounts representing the business appeared to have been deleted.
The sexual assault investigation was still active Saturday. Detectives believe there are more victims, police said. Anyone with information is asked to call the Everett Police Department tip line at 425-257-8450.
The Daily Herald plans to follow developments in this case. If you have a story to share related to the investigation, please contact reporter Ellen Dennis at 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterellen.