Steve Pierce, sex offender found in Washington, wasn't punished for refusing treatment

Last week, we told you about the manhunt for Steve Pierce, a convicted sex offender wanted for allegedly molesting a nine-year-old family member; see our previous coverage below.

Now, Pierce has been captured a long way from home, at a location in Washington state. But even as law enforcers travel there to transport him back to Colorado, information has surfaced that while in prison, he refused to attend court-ordered treatment programs. His punishment? Nothing.

During the wee hours of May 29, as we've reported, members of the Thornton Police Department were called to the North Suburban Medical Center due to the presence of a nine-year-old girl who showed signs she'd been sexually assaulted -- and so was so seriously injured that she was immediately transported to Children's Hospital for more intensive treatment.

Her sufferings become even more painful to consider in the context of the time she told investigators Pierce had sexually assaulted her -- on the evening of May 26, more than two full days earlier.

Later on the 29th, an alert went out for Pierce. He remained at large for nearly a week, but at about 10 a.m. yesterday, June 5, he was nabbed in Everett, Washington, by members of that city's police force. Shortly thereafter, TPD detectives headed to Everett's Snohomish County Jail to take custody of him and bring him back home to be tried for the crimes of which he's been accused, including sexual assault on a child and sex assault on a child by someone in a position of trust.

Meanwhile, CBS4 reports that Pierce probably shouldn't have been on the streets to harm his family member in the first place.

The station learned that Pierce was freed from a Colorado prison on May 4, 2012, but only after the parole board that heard his assorted pleas mandated that he attended sex-offender therapy and counseling sessions.

However, Pierce's parole records show that after going to a couple of sessions, he not only refused to sit through any more of them, but was actually "hostile" at the suggestion.

Such behavior could have resulted in his parole being revoked. Instead, no consequences befell Pierce, leaving him out and able to do terrible things to a pre-teen girl.

To his credit, Steve Hager, interim director of Colorado's Division of Adult Parole, appeared before a CBS4 camera to admit that this wasn't the branch's finest hour and promising to do better.

Maybe that's because a number of high-profile gaffes involving parole have taken place of late, including the mistaken early release of Evan Ebel, who's thought to have murdered pizza-delivery man Nathan Leon and Colorado prison boss Tom Clements earlier this year.

Look below to see the CBS4 report.

Continue for our previous coverage of Steve Pierce, including photos and a video. Original post, 10:37 a.m. May 31: Steve Pierce's first arrest for a sex crime took place when he was just twelve years old.

And the Thornton Police Department feels confident he hasn't grown out of this abominable habit despite the decades that have passed, not to mention numerous additional run-ins with the law.

Pierce is now wanted for molesting a member of his own family.

She's just nine years old.

At about 3 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the TPD, officers received a call from the North Suburban Medical Center. Doctors there had examined a nine-year-old girl and determined that she'd been sexually assaulted, causing injuries serious enough that she was subsequently transported to Children's Hospital.

Making these health issues even more distressing is the amount of time that passed between her molestation and medical treatment. Investigators believe that Pierce abused the girl in a parking lot on the 9100 block of North Huron Street at around 10 p.m. the previous Sunday -- meaning she'd been dealing with what happened to her for more than two days before the North Suburban visit.

Later that day, invesigators obtained an arrest warrant for Pierce, 35, on suspicion of sexual assault on a child and sex assault on a child by someone in a position of trust.

The rest of the family trusted him, too. The girl's grandmother told 9News the clan knew he'd been to jail for crimes such as burglary and theft. But they had no idea he'd been busted for sexual assault back in 1990, when he was still a tween, and was rousted again in 2004 for failing to register as a sex offender.

Police believe Pierce (described as five-feet eight-inches tall and 200 pounds, with brown hair, a goatee and blue eyes sometimes seen behind glasses) is still in the area, since he has neither a car nor a cell phone. He's considered dangerous; anyone who knows his whereabouts is encouraged to contact their local police.

Here's an interactive graphic of the area near the crime scene (if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map"), followed by two Pierce booking photos and the 9News report.

View Larger Map

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "John Vigil pleads guilty to fatal child abuse case after years in mental hospital."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts