A U.S. federal air marshal stands accused of raping a woman at gunpoint in a Seattle hotel room. Lecheton “Omar” Settles, 30, was arrested by local police after a 24 year old woman reported being assaulted by him. Settles had hired her to perform a show, which would included a massage and a private dance, during his layover. If such conduct were not unprofessional enough, what allegedly followed was beyond the pale.
The woman claims Settles was fully dressed when she arrived but after coming out of the bathroom, where she had changed into her “outfit,” she alleges Settles was standing completely naked with his government issued air marshal badge hanging from his neck and a gun in one hand. He then, allegedly, said “U.S. Marshal, you have to do what I tell you.” The woman told police she began to cry and Settles instructed her to get on the bed where he held her down, pushing on her chest, as he raped her for about 10 minutes, wearing a condom, with the gun next to her on the bed.
Afterwards, the woman says Settles told her to put her clothes back on and give him back the $180. She says he then put a handcuff on her and made a phone call to his “sergeant.” She heard him say on the phone, “OK, you want me to let this one go?” He then let her leave.
The woman was very brave to report the incident immediately. I’m sort of pleasantly surprised that law enforcement is taking her report seriously, especially because so many folks consider sex workers unrapeable, unreliable, and untrustworthy. And Settles is (or was) a respected and powerful member of society. Still, he is not on trial yet so we’ll see what happens then.
Settles initially denied having any sexual contact with the woman. After police told him the woman described his completely shaved privates, he admitted his pants were down at one point. He also admitted wearing his air marshal badge, but denied taking out his gun because, he said, it’s against air marshal policy to use a firearm after “drinking alcohol.” So the guy does have some standards of behavior.
“We are shocked that a law enforcement officer would be accused of a crime this serious,” said King County Sheriff spokesperson Sgt. John Urquhart.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) immediately terminated Settles–a probationary employee–for the “misconduct.”