Shocking video footage showed the co-chair of a taxpayer-funded Seattle committee angrily defend the nomination of a pedophile for a role – and shout down a fellow member who accused the pervert of molesting her.
Shanee Colston was seen on the May 3 Zoom call yelling furiously that she was ‘glad’ that registered sex offender Thomas Whitaker wanted to be part of their team.
And she angrily accused a fellow member of invading Whitaker’s privacy by highlighting his sex offenses, with the pervert’s nomination ultimately approved.
She was angered when Kristina Sawyckyj, a former veteran who says she was left wheelchair-bound by a sex attack in the 1980s, spoke up to object and claimed Whitaker had molested her.
Shanee Colston, co-chair of the Continuum of Care board – a subdivision of the King County Regional Homeless Authority. She presided over the May 3 meeting of the board
‘Can I say something?’ asked Sawyckyj.
‘We have a code of ethics on this board and Thomas Whitaker Raven Crowfoot is a sex offender, a repeat sex offender and I have had a bad experience with him.’
That triggered a furious scolding from Colston, who said she was ‘glad’ to support Whitaker because sex offenders are ‘vulnerable’ people who are prone to homelessness.
Interrupting Swayckyj, Colston said: ‘We can’t disclose people’s personal business here.
‘And although that’s public disclosure, we have no right to out anybody in this space.’
Sawyckyj, seemingly shaken, tried to explain her objections, but then apologized.
Kristina Sawyckyj, right, is seen participating in the May 3 Zoom meeting. She objected to Whitaker joining the board, and was silenced by Colston and others
Sawyckyj, 53, was serving in the Marines when she was raped. The attack, in the early 1990s, left her in a wheelchair
Whitaker’s nomination to the board was approved, despite Sawyckyj’s complaint
Other people on the Zoom call jumped in, to tell Sawyckyj that she could not raise her concerns.
Colston, growing increasingly angry, told the meeting: ‘Actually, I’m glad that, if that is the case, that he’s here because sex offenders are another population that is most vulnerable that don’t have housing.’
Sawyckyj, audibly upset, said: ‘He has touched me. So if there is a meeting he is at, I won’t be able to attend that meeting.’
Another board member told her: ‘Kristina, you need to take this to the police, then.’
Sawyckyj replied: ‘I have. I have.’
Colston shouted her down, her voice growing louder as her rant continuesd.
‘Please stop. Kristi!’ she said.
‘As the co-chair, I’m telling you that you cannot talk like that in this meeting.
‘I will not have that here.
‘If anyone wants to talk like that you will be muted and even removed from this meeting. Board Member, or public, or not.
‘This is about equity. And everyone – everyone! – deserves housing.
‘I don’t care if they’re a sex offender, I don’t care if they’re black, I don’t care if they’re indigenous, I don’t care if they’re a criminal, I don’t care if they’re coming out of jail… prison. Everyone deserves housing.’
The drama erupted during the monthly meeting of King’s County’s Continuum of Care board, held via Zoom, and has led to calls for Colston to resign.
The board is a subdivision of the King County Regional Homeless Authority, funded by state taxpayers and federal grants.
Colston read out the names of those wanting to join their board, including Thomas Whitaker, 38.
Whitaker, who also goes by the name Raven Crowfoot, is a registered sex offender known for preying on young girls. Sawyckyj – who sits on the board Whitaker wants to join – claims he molested her too, only to be furiously accused of violating his privacy by Colston.
Colston is seen on the Zoom yelling at a board member for raising objections to a sex offender joining their board
In 2010, when he was 25, he was convicted of harboring a minor, a 13-year-old runaway with whom he had a sexual relationship, according to court records obtained by independent Seattle news site Publicola.
In 2012, Whitaker was charged with raping a minor in a case involving a 15-year-old girl.
He pled guilty to communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, a felony sex crime.
And in 2018, Seattle police found him living in a tent near the Seattle waterfront with a 17-year-old girl, whose mother picked her up and took her home, according to Seattle court records obtained by the site.
Sawyckyj, a 53-year-old former Marine, was so severely injured in a sexual assault while in the armed forces that she ended up in a wheelchair, she told The Urbanist in 2017.
She joined the U.S. Navy in 1987 and served as a hospital corpsman until 1992.
She said she was raped while in the service and suffers from chronic physical injuries that put her in a wheelchair, she told King5 News.
She has spent many years homeless, living in her van.
Thomas Whitaker, 38, is a registered sex offender who was nominated to the board
Sawyckyj, an activist and campaigner, has spoken multiple times about her struggles as a homeless Marine veteran, and the sexual assault that left her needing a wheelchair
The day after the meeting, the chief program officer for King County Regional Homeless Authority wrote to the board and demanded Colston’s resignation as co-chair, Publicola reported.
Colston, who works as a peer counselor with the Downtown Emergency Service Center, was noted to have ‘shouted down’ Sawyckyj for her valid objections, said Peter Lynn.
Lynn said that Colston ‘shouted down committee member Kristina Sawyckyj for identifying that one of the prospective AC nominees was a registered sex offender, which is public information.
‘Ms. Sawyckyj was also shouted down by Chair Colston when she spoke of her experience being inappropriately touched by the nominee.’
It is not clear whether Colston has yet resigned. DailyMail.com has approached the board for comment.
The King County Regional Homeless Authority was created in 2018, and in 2022 applied for $14 million in federal funding for the next three years.
The funding would be spent on projects ‘that focus on investing in programs that reduce unsheltered homelessness, improve service engagement, health outcomes, and housing stability by using coordinated Housing First and Public Health Principles to serve unsheltered individuals and families.’
KCRHA is also funded by local taxpayers.
On Tuesday, the group announced that its founding CEO, Marc Dones, appointed in April 2021, was stepping down.
His resignation was not linked to the row about Colston’s actions but rather what some classed as an impossible task.
In a letter to members of the authority’s implementation board and governing committee, obtained by The Seattle Times, Dones cited burnout as the reason for resignation.
‘After five years I am tired,’ Dones wrote, including the creation of the authority in the timeline.
‘I believe the time has come for me to pass the baton.’
The KCRHA said the agency’s purpose and function to ‘unify and coordinate policy and funding across all of King County for a regional approach to bringing more people inside’ will remain the same after Dones steps down.