Supporting Constitutional and Evidence-Based Public Conviction Registry Laws

WA: Why a sex offender would run for office: Willie Russell’s story

[ – 8/20/19]

Willie Russell is running for the Snohomish County Council this year. He squeaked through the August primary, and will face Stephanie Wright in November for Council position 3.

He is also a Level III sex offender. You can read the narrative from the sheriff’s office database here.

I recently spoke with Russell in an extended conversation. I wanted to ask him about his interest in running, and about his campaign. But, I was particularly interested in understanding why, with his background, he would be willing to put himself out there in the public domain.

My story is not a lot different from thousands of other people. Let’s start with the elephant in the room: my conviction.

Russell says he brought forward a complaint against then-Judge Gary Little and Pastor Donald Barnett of Community Chapel Bible Training Center. Both of whom, Russell says, were involved in the sexual abuse and misconduct of his children.

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