From Sugar Daddy to Stalker: Pierce County attorney victimized by local student, charges allege

Peter Talbot / The Newsstand

A Tacoma attorney is facing criminal charges for allegedly harassing a college student he met through a dating site. Charging documents say he repeatedly violated a sexual assault protective order the woman sought against him for allegedly raping her in her dorm.

Christopher Jason Hendry was charged in Pierce County Superior Court on Friday with criminal harassment, second-degree extortion, disclosure of intimate images, criminal harassment, breach of court order and 11 counts of criminal harassment. accusation of violation of a protection order. The accused was arraigned the same day and pleas of not guilty were entered.

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Hendry posted $100,000 bond on Monday after spending the weekend in jail. If convicted, Hendry could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He has no criminal history in Pierce County, according to court records.

The attorney’s defense attorney, Igor Shapiro, said in a phone call that he would need to speak to Hendry before commenting on the charges. Shapiro did not respond to further attempts to contact him.

Between February and July, Hendry, 43, sent hundreds of harassing text messages and emails to a 21-year-old woman, her friends and family, charging documents say. Prosecutors wrote in the documents that Hendry posted “intimate” photos of the woman on a TikTok account, sent similar images to the woman’s relatives and told friends she was a prostitute.

The attorney is the sole practitioner at Hendry Law, a firm specializing in personal injury, estate planning and employment law. According to the Washington State Bar Association, Hendry received his license to practice in 2019. His website says he served in the U.S. military for 15 years.

The two met in November last year through ‘Secret Benefits’, a dating site aimed at matching older men with women looking for a ‘sugar daddy’, a man offering support money in exchange for companionship and encounters.

The woman – who spoke with The News Tribune on condition of anonymity – said she and a friend were going on dates to try and make some money. She met Hendry, and the two began sexting, sharing intimate images he would pay money for, the woman said. Before long, the relationship escalated into uncomfortable territory.

In December, the woman was arrested for impaired driving in Pierce County by the Washington State Patrol after a trooper saw her vehicle struggling to stay in its own lane. According to Pierce County District Court records, a breath test showed his blood alcohol level was .098. The woman said she went to see Hendry for advice and he “insisted” on representing her on a pro bono basis.

“I agreed because I was scared and had no money, I didn’t know what to do,” the woman said in a phone call with The News Tribune. “Then he used his position as a lawyer to extort sex from me.”

Sexual assault in a university residence

The alleged sexual assault took place in January, a day before the woman was due in court with Hendry to be arraigned on impaired driving charges. According to the woman’s motion for a protective order, Hendry drove her back to her college dorm on January 9 and insisted on helping her carry items to her room. There, Hendry sexually assaulted the woman after twice telling her she did not want to have sex, the petition states.

Thereafter, their relationship continued. The woman wrote in the petition that she felt compelled to continue the sexual relationship because he was representing her in court. In February, she visited her family out of state and told Hendry she didn’t want to be in a relationship.

“Almost immediately afterwards, the victim began receiving harassing messages from anonymous texting accounts,” the probable cause document states.

The woman was granted a protective order on February 22, but the text messages and emails continued. In an email sent to the woman in July from an address that included her name, Hendry made vague threats.

“Remember you have to come back here for school and you don’t want me to go crazy because this paper doesn’t protect you,” Hendry allegedly wrote. “You need to be able to call the police first and you know what I killed and what I can do, so call me and don’t tell anyone.”

Lawyer arrested

Hendry was first arrested in early March, but the Pierce County District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges. According to the probable cause document, he was arrested after the woman reported to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department that she was still receiving emails from him.

The deputy who took the report arrested Hendry, who denied emailing him. At the time, Hendry was still representing the woman in her DUI case, according to court records. A new lawyer was assigned to him about three weeks later. According to prosecutor’s office spokesman Adam Faber, the office did not proceed with the charge until detectives could link the email accounts to Hendry.

Detectives obtained search warrants for two Gmail accounts that Hendry said were hers, as well as other accounts the woman had received messages from. According to the probable cause document, two IP addresses were consistent in Gmail accounts and accounts that sent harassing messages.

One IP address traces back to Hendry’s personal residence, and the other back to his law firm, prosecutors wrote in the charging documents.

“Additional evidence uncovered in the Gmail return indicated that Hendry signed up for an anonymous texting app and VPN accounts in an attempt to mask the IP address where the messages originated,” the documents say.

When Hendry was arrested a second time on August 18, he refused to answer questions and said all of his personal digital devices contained inside information. In an email, prosecutor’s office spokesman Adam Faber said a process was in place to clean up investigative documents or any such information before they are reviewed by detectives. and assistant prosecutors.

The woman who was the subject of the alleged harassment said she spoke with The News Tribune to tell other women who are curious about dating a sugar daddy. She said she was relieved that Hendry had been charged, but still feared he was on the loose again.

“Young girls who think sugar dating is an easy way to make money, it can get you in a lot of trouble,” she said.

Rachel J. Bradford