Brian Kim

Brian Kim appears in Thurston County Superior Court via video feed for a preliminary appearance on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019.

A Level 3 sex offender with Lewis County ties was arrested in Thurston County on Wednesday after being accused of abusing, yelling at and attempting to bite a kitten in front of the staff of a local business.

According to court documents, Brian L. Kim, 49, was also accused of following a woman around while holding a kitten, asking her “Do you want to pet my kitty?”

He was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after Thurston County deputies reported finding the kitten lethargic in Kim’s vehicle. He’s being held in the Thurston County Jail on $50,000 bail.

According to a probable cause affidavit, on July 27, a staff member at MetroPCS in Olympia contacted authorities saying Kim frequents the store and often brings a kitten with him. When he has the kitten, the employee said, Kim’s often rough with it and verbally abusive — yelling things at it like “See, nobody wants you” and “I own you.”

Additionally, he allegedly would strike the kitten’s head against a counter, slam it on the counter and ground, gnash at it with his teeth in attempts to bite it and roughly grab and squeeze it by the neck or stomach.

A deputy found a Facebook post where a woman said Kim watched her and started following her while holding a kitten, attempting to use the cat to “lure” her and asking her if she wanted to pet it, according to a probable cause affidavit. The woman ducked into a restaurant to get away from him, according to the Facebook post.

Deputies obtained a warrant to seize any animals in Kim’s possession. The warrant was executed Wednesday when Kim stopped into the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office for a mandatory check-in due to his transient sex offender status.

The kitten was found in Kim’s vehicle, authorities say, and it appeared lethargic, with mucus around her eyes.

“There was trash from floor to ceiling filling the entire vehicle, except for the driver’s seat. I did not locate any food or water for her. The kitten was lying motionless in the back of the vehicle among the trash and blankets. She awoke when I tapped on the glass and looked at us with her eyes half shut,” read court documents.

The kitten acted aggressively when authorities tried to pick her up, but calmed down when she was moved to a secure crate.

Thurston County Deputy Prosecutor Ali Abid said during a hearing Thursday afternoon that a veterinarian found the kitten likely suffered from brain swelling or a concussion.

Court Commissioner Nathan Kortokrax found there was probable cause for Kim to be charged with first-degree animal cruelty.

Abid asked for Kim to be held on $150,000 bail, pointing out Kim’s criminal history, which includes convictions of second-degree rape and second-degree assault. Abid said that while the state Legislature has made clear violent crimes against people are to be taken seriously, he felt that crimes against animals should receive a similar scrutiny, as the victims are unable to vocalize or report abusive situations.

Public defender John Hansen argued for a lesser amount, saying Kim hasn’t appeared to have trouble with the justice system since 2012. Hansen said he had no objection to other conditions Abid proposed, such as Kim having no contact with animals or living with animals during the case’s duration.

Kortokrax imposed $50,000 bail and ordered that Kim stay away from animals should he post bail.

Kim has an arraignment hearing set for Aug. 13.

According to previous Chronicle stories and notices posted by area law enforcement agencies, Kim registered as a level 3 sex offender — the designation for offenders considered the highest risk to the community — after he pleaded guilty in Thurston County Superior Court in 2001 to second-degree rape.

Kim was convicted of sexually assaulting a developmentally disabled man he picked up at a bus stop.

“Kim met the victim at a bus stop in Lewis County and Kim offered him a ride,” which the victim accepted, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. “Kim then drove the victim to his home in Thurston County where the assault took place.”

He was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office sent out notification in May 2018 that Kim had moved to Chehalis, noting the department’s policy of alerting community members anytime a level 3 sex offender moves.

Earlier this month, TCSO sent out notice that Kim had registered as transient in Thurston County.

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