Parents of babysitter sexually assaulted speak out

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OD Harris and Elizabeth Ward want the man police said sexually assaulted their daughter prosecuted to the fullest extent. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) OD Harris and Elizabeth Ward want the man police said sexually assaulted their daughter prosecuted to the fullest extent. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Dion Earl, 44. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Dion Earl, 44. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
“This incident has changed my daughter’s life. This has changed my family’s life," said Ward. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) “This incident has changed my daughter’s life. This has changed my family’s life," said Ward. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
“This man is scum. He’s a sleaze-ball and he’s done nothing but prey on women, young innocent, green women, inexperienced women, to further his agenda by luring these victims into rooms,” said Harris. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) “This man is scum. He’s a sleaze-ball and he’s done nothing but prey on women, young innocent, green women, inexperienced women, to further his agenda by luring these victims into rooms,” said Harris. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The parents of an 18-year-old sexual assault victim want justice for their daughter. OD Harris and Elizabeth Ward said the man who attacked their daughter is a serial predator.

The couple gathered Wednesday afternoon outside the Mesa home of suspect Dion Earl, 44, along with their attorney and several friends. Mesa police arrested Earl in October. He faces sexual assault, kidnapping, sexual abuse and other charges. He is currently in jail being held without bond.

[RAW VIDEO: Initial court appearance for Dion Earl]

“We’re here to seek justice today. To make sure that the prosecutor, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, prosecutes him to the fullest,” said attorney Benjamin Taylor.

Mesa investigators arrested Earl after two young women, 18 and 21, who have never met each other, came forward separately to report Earl sexually assaulted them after he hired them to babysit his kids.

“This man is scum. He’s a sleaze-ball and he’s done nothing but prey on women, young innocent, green women, inexperienced women, to further his agenda by luring these victims into rooms,” said Harris.

Harris’ daughter, the 18-year-old victim, reported to police that once cornered in a room, Earl hugged her and would not let her go. He reportedly then purposefully fell on the bed and put his hands down her pants and grabbed her naked rear. Once the victim was able to break free, Earl reportedly exposed himself to her and tried to again, keep her from leaving the room. 

“This incident has changed my daughter’s life. This has changed my family’s life. She’s a freshman. She just graduated high school. No child should go through anything like this. They’re supposed to be doing fun things with their friends, not fighting in a court case and getting sexually assaulted by a predator,” said Ward.

What is most disturbing to the couple is that sexual abuse and assault accusations against Earl date back nearly 20 years. A number of women, through the years in the Seattle area, have accused him of similar crimes in the past, but prosecutors in Washington state never filed charges. The most recent allegations were in 2014 when two women on the dance line of the professional indoor soccer team, Seattle Impact FC, accused Earl of sexually assaulting them. Earl owned, coached, and played on the team at the time.

“This is what happens when accusations are not followed up. This is what happens when we don’t take the seriousness of crimes and when victims go and report and say this is happening. This has to stop. We have to investigate properly each complaint, not leaving it for chance,” said Harris.

While criminal charges eluded Earl in the past, those two women, along with four other team employees, filed a civil lawsuit against Earl for harassment and sexual assault. The suit was settled out of court.

“Shame on Seattle and the prosecutors that have let us down. I’m hoping that Arizona, you guys, stand and say something and keep this man locked up,” said Ward.

Earl lived in a large Mesa home with his wife and three kids. On Wednesday, padlocks were fastened on all the gates leading to the home.

Court records show Earl’s wife filed for divorce in October, about 10 days before he was arrested.

Earl is expected in court Thursday morning, where a judge could set a bond. That is something the victim’s family and lawyer do not want.

“We as a community, as parents, as mothers and fathers, need to take a stand. It is not the victims to be ashamed of what happened. The only person that should be ashamed right now is Dion Earl. He is the predator. He is the criminal. And he’s the one that should be ashamed,” said Ward.

These parents believe there are more victims of Earls out there. They urge anyone who has watched Earl’s kids who is a victim of abuse, to come forward. 

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Donna RossiEmmy Award-winning reporter Donna Rossi joined CBS 5 News in September 1994.

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Donna Rossi

In that time, Donna has covered some of the most high-profile stories in the Valley and across the state. Donna's experience as a four-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department gives her a keen sense of crime and court stories. She offered gavel to gavel coverage of the 1999 sleepwalking murder trial of Scott Falater, and the trial and conviction of retired Catholic Bishop Thomas O'Brien for a fatal hit and run accident. She also spent 2 straight weeks in northeastern Arizona in the summer of 2011 covering the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Donna's reputation as a fair and accurate journalist has earned her the respect of her colleagues and community. Her talent as a reporter has earned her more than a dozen Arizona Associated Press Awards and five Emmy statue.

Donna previously worked as an anchor and reporter in Tucson and got her start in broadcast journalism in Flagstaff. Donna is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the NATAS board. She is a member of IFP/Phoenix, a non-profit organization of local film and documentary makers.

Donna was born in New York and moved to the Valley with her family when she was 9 years old. She is a graduate of Maryvale High School and attended Arizona State University. She graduated cum laude from Northern Arizona University.

In her free time, Donna enjoys boating on Bartlett Lake, all forms of music and theatre. Donna frequently donates her time to speak to community organizations and emcee their events. She is a past board member of DUET, a non-profit which helps promote health and well-being for older adults. Donna also loves donating her time to youth organizations and groups who work to secure and safeguard human rights.

On Oct. 17, 2015, Donna was honored for her amazing work over the years. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences inducted her into its Silver Circle. It's one of the organization's most prestigious honors for which only a few candidates are selected each year.

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