Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Cap Hill rehab house ex-worker cops to felony; hid suspect

by October 1st, 2012

Caitlan T. Grassi, a former caseworker at a halfway house for federal felons in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle Friday on a felony charge of concealing someone from arrest, and a drug-related misdemeanor, according to a statement released by the office of U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. The 29-year-old Grassi worked at Pioneer Fellowship House, a residential reentry center operated by Pioneer Human Services at 220 11th Ave. The statement from Durkan’s office says in a plea agreement Grassi admitted to an inappropriate relationship with a felon she supervised at the house by concealing his drug use from others there; warning him of a pending random drug test; and telling him to hide in his room when he appeared to be under the influence of drugs. She signed him out of the house in March of last year to go to work but instead took him to her apartment, where they had sex, according to the plea agreement and the statement from the U.S. Attorney.

After suspicious house staff suspended her and she then resigned shortly afterward, the felon disappeared from the house, and an arrest warrant was issued. She knew of the warrant but met him in a club, took him home, gave him money to buy heroin, and a place to stay in Renton, to evade law enforcement. She later took him to a drug buy, and watched him use heroin. He was subsequently taken back into custody and sentenced for violating terms of his supervised release. She exchanged more than 1,000 text messages with him in a month.

Grassi at first denied any wrongdoing but then last October “admitted her conduct, acknowledging that she had lied to investigators” from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, “and had destroyed text messages between her and the inmate.” She is scheduled to be sentenced next February 8 by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour, and faces a maximum sentence of of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Pioneer Human Services also operates residential reentry houses in Bellingham, Tacoma and Spokane. The South Seattle-based non-profit has programs in more than 50 Washington State locations, providing not only reentry services, but also treatment, housing, employment and training. Pioneer employs rehabilitated clients in businesses it runs in construction and labor, food services, pest control and manufacturing. Its board of directors includes a range of prominent Seattle-ites from the private and public sectors.

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