Sheriff's Office: Female counselor assaulted at Wash. jail

Inmate accused of barricading door

By Paris Achen
The Columbian

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A convicted sex offender is accused of assaulting a female mental health counselor Tuesday after barricading the door of her office in the Clark County Jail's medical unit.

Gregory Antonio Wright, 34, of Vancouver appeared in Clark County Superior Court on Thursday on suspicion of first-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault.

Wright was incarcerated in the jail on a pending charge of failure to register as a sex offender when he met with mental health counselor John Furze just before 4 p.m. Tuesday at the jail. After the session, Wright allegedly requested to speak with a different mental health counselor, a specific blonde woman he had talked to before, according to court papers.

The woman, Kristine Kystrom, met with him in one of the residential pods at the jail. Wright asked whether she would talk to him in her office in the jail's medical unit, and Kystrom agreed, according to court papers. She met with him in the office and kept the door open, per jail policy, so that a medical unit corrections deputy could see inside.

Clark County sheriff's Detective Kevin Harper wrote in a court affidavit that after about 15 minutes of conversation, Wright "suddenly stood up like he was going to leave the office and said, in a quiet but rough tone of voice, 'What can you do for me?, "

"Kristine said that, in one motion and without warning, inmate Wright looked out the door, kicked the door jamb out, closed the door and struck her in the face," Harper wrote.

Kystrom was knocked to the floor. As she was struggling to stand up, Wright allegedly barricaded the door with a heavy metal desk from inside the office.

Wright then grabbed her by the neck, Harper wrote. She wriggled away and threw herself back and behind the desk. Wright attempted to pull her by the collar of her clothing across the desk, court papers say. Corrections deputies, who heard her screaming, rushed to force open the door and were able to stop the attack, Harper wrote.

Kystrom sustained bruising to the left side of her neck, right side of her face, right jawline and back of her left hand. She also had an abrasion on her left elbow and right thigh, swelling on her head and a cut on her left index finger.

According to court papers, Wright acknowledged that he asked to speak with Kystrom but said he doesn't remember attacking her.

Judge Robert Lewis on Thursday held Wright in jail in lieu of $50,000 and appointed Vancouver attorney Louis Byrd Jr. to defend him. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Jan. 23. However, Byrd indicated that he plans) to request a mental health competency evaluation for Wright today, which would delay court proceedings.

Wright is required to register as a sex offender in connection with a second-degree assault with sexual motivation from 1998 and four convictions of failing to register as a sex offender.

He has an extensive criminal history, which also includes domestic violence harassment, riot with a weapon, malicious mischief, taking a motor vehicle without permission, communicating with a minor, making a false statement to a public servant, unlawful possession of a firearm and first-degree burglary.

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