(UPDATING 2:23 pm with additional information from police)
1:43 PM: Another West Seattle school has sent parents an alert about a reported incident of indecent exposure. This alert from Westside School (WSB sponsor) has been forwarded to us by parents who just received it; it was signed by assistant head of school Don Cunningham:
I am writing to inform you of an incident that happened yesterday. A student, during lunch recess, observed a man sitting in a car on 32nd Ave (our eastern campus border) with only a t-shirt on. The incident was reported to adults on campus (although later in the day), the police were informed, and the child’s parents were contacted. As some of you may have read, a similar incident occurred recently at Holy Rosary School, also here in West Seattle. The individual was described to be a white male in a black sports car. We have met with and are cooperating fully with law enforcement officials.
Here at Westside, the safety and security of your children is of the utmost importance to us. At the same time, we highly value the presence of parents and members of our community in the buildings and on the grounds. We have taken significant efforts to secure our campus, supervise our entrance and exit points, control traffic flow, and ensure that the facilities are run in as safe a manner as possible. Our perimeter is secure during the school day, after drop-off the front door is the only access, and all visitors are required to sign in.
What does this incident mean to us? It means, once again, to talk to your children about strangers. Help them to understand that they need to avoid situations where they might be vulnerable, including talking with strangers through a fence and particularly anyone that entices them into a vehicle or building. …
We asked police earlier today for any additional descriptive information about the person seen near Holy Rosary yesterday (the second such incident in the area of that school in less than a week and a half); none has been provided so far. We will be checking with SPD again right now to see if they have anything more on this case.
1:57 PM UPDATE: Police say they are putting together this information and cannot tell us anything more until they are ready to make it public.
2:22 PM UPDATE: Just talked to Det. Jeff Kappel with SPD media relations. He says they believe the two incidents yesterday might indeed have been the same man – the description was similar, including the vehicle.
Here’s what else he told us:
*The incident near Westside School happened around 12:30 pm yesterday but they didn’t get the report until four hours later – apparently the 7-year-old girl who saw the man did not tell anyone at school, but told someone at home.
She saw him through the east fence of the school south of 32nd/Holden, which is high off the street – she says the man was white, anywhere from 20s to 40s, short black hair, scruffy beard. He was in a “black beat-up car, sporty sedan, with body damage, parked on the west side of 32nd, facing northbound,” said Det. Kappel. The man had T-shirt on, no pants, he and the girl saw each other, nothing was said, no contact – he says none of the three incidents in West Seattle have had any contact between the man/men and those who saw him/them, and the exposer/s did not get out of their vehicle in any of these incidents. Again, he says the car and suspect descriptions from both the Holy Rosary and Westside incidents yesterday are similar, but they seem to be different – the vehicle, in particular – from the one at HR on the 9th.
3:35 PM UPDATE: Police have just published an SPD Blotter update with the information they gave us an hour ago as well as an overview, and contacts for anyone with information.