Crime

A sex offender walked into a Tri-City high school. What he said put him in jail

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.
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Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.

A transient sex offender is in jail after walking into Kennewick High School on Friday morning.

Brandon R. Hankel, 36, entered the gym annex about 8 a.m. and found a teacher inside her office, police said.

First he made an innocuous comment, and then threatened to sexually assault her, said Officer Roman Trujillo. The teacher shut her door on Hankel and called the school office.

Kennewick police Officer Mike Rosane, a school resource officer on the downtown school campus, responded and spotted Hankel running from the school.

Rosane chased and caught Hankel at the corner of First Avenue and Fruitland Street.

The normal school day had just started at the high school, which is undergoing a major renovation.

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Brandon Hankel

This is not the first time Hankel has confronted a women in downtown Kennewick.

Hankel has a 2013 conviction for attempted third-degree rape and indecent exposure after he approached a woman walking from her car to work at Kennewick City Hall.

He told her he was going to have sex with her, and she ran inside the building. Two police commanders and a sergeant found and arrested Hankel in Keewaydin Park.

Since then he’s been convicted of indecent exposure one other time and was charged in February with failing to register as a sex offender.

He had been a transient in the city since February but has been registering with the county as required by law.

Officials have classified him as a Level 3 offender, meaning he is considered at a high risk to commit another sexually motivated crime.

All Level 3 offenders are prohibited from going onto school grounds, Trujillo said.

Friday, he was booked into the Benton County jail Friday on suspicion of burglary with sexual motivation.

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.
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