Sex offender accused of stalking
Police seize a notebook with details on women the man allegedly watched and followed home from area shopping centers
West Linn police arrested a Portland man at his workplace in Tigard last Friday. The man allegedly had been stalking 275 women at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square, including at least one West Linn woman.
During an arraignment hearing Monday, prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Erin Zemper told Circuit Court Judge Robert Herndon that Timothy Allen Cole is a threat to the community.
'At this point there are hundreds of potential victims,' Zemper told Herndon.
Due to the risk of re-offending or flight, Cole is being held in Clackamas County Jail on $150,000 bail.
When Cole, 34, was stopped for a traffic violation in West Linn earlier in the week, he allegedly had been following one of the women to her apartment in the 4000 block of Robin Place.
The woman did not press charges since she was not yet aware of the stalking, according to West Linn Sgt. Neil Hennelly.
'But she was substantially alarmed by this (knowledge of Cole's actions),' Hennelly said, which raises the offense to the level of stalking.
In court Monday afternoon, Cole attempted to convince Judge Herndon that he was not a flight risk by telling him that many members of his family and friends live nearby. He said the whole thing was a misunderstanding. But the judge interrupted him and would not let him continue without the advice of an attorney, which will likely be appointed by the court, according to Zemper.
'(Cole) is only being charged with one count of stalking now,' said Zemper, 'but the (West Linn Police) investigation is continuing.'
During a July 3 search of Cole's 2005 Mazda four-door sedan that was to be impounded for no liability insurance, Officer Dustin Davis of the West Linn Police Department seized a portfolio as evidence. The notebook contained about 20 pages of paper, Sgt. Hennelly said, that had detailed profile information written on the women Cole allegedly had been watching.
'At first, the officer thought he was looking at identity-theft profiles, with bits and pieces of information about a bunch of people,' Hennelly said. 'But after taking a hard look at it, he realized that it was surveillance profiles. (Cole) had been gathering intelligence, and following people.'
But Cole denied that it was surveillance information, according to Hennelly.
Cole was not arrested at that time because the officer did not have enough evidence, but he seized the portfolio of information to continue the investigation.
'(Cole) has been sitting in the parking lots of shopping malls and watching people come out,' said Hennelly. 'He was writing physical descriptions of the women's body parts along with other information and their license (plate) numbers.'
Hennelly said the notes on hundreds of women included descriptive terms such as 'brunette, tall, nice tan, nice legs, nice chest ….'
Some of the women had stars drawn by their descriptions, Hennelly said.
Cole was initially charged with one count of stalking and one count of failing to register as a sex offender. He was required to re-register his address within 10 days of moving, which he had not done.
Hennelly emphasized that Cole is not considered a predatory sex offender. He has a misdemeanor conviction in 1999 for sex abuse in the third degree, which the officer says is akin to groping.
Cole was booked into the Clackamas County Jail last week on $15,000 bail, but Judge Herndon raised the bail amount Monday. Herndon told Cole Monday that a release hearing could be scheduled if he wanted to argue his case for being released before trial.
During the past week, several West Linn officers and detectives have been trying to contact the other 274 women listed in the notebook, to see if they also are victims who were followed or contacted by Cole.
'We're still contacting people (on Cole's list),' Hennelly said. 'We have help from the victim's assistance office. We're finding out who these people are, and we're contacting them based on the information we have. We're putting together the rest of (Cole's) information to get their names, because he doesn't have names for these women.'
Meanwhile, Cole remains incarcerated, and is not being released on his own recognizance, Hennelly said, because of the high likelihood of re-offending - even though he was only convicted of a minor sex offense years ago.
'It has been escalating behavior every since (Cole's conviction),' Hennelly said. 'This guy is raising all sorts of alarm bells with us. We have three or four full-time people working on this case.'
A case manager's hearing is scheduled for Aug. 14, according to Zemper, and a tentative trial date of Sept. 5 has been set.