Convicted Child Molester Surrenders in Guatemala
Man Is Returned to Arlington to Face Charges of Abusing 17-Year-Old
By Elaine Rivera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 3, 2004; Page B01
A convicted child molester was apprehended in Guatemala yesterday and brought back to Arlington County, where he will be tried on charges of molesting a 17-year-old boy over several years and failing to appear in court, law enforcement officials said.
Thomas R. Koucky, 41, surrendered peacefully to Guatemalan authorities in "an impoverished neighborhood" outside of Guatemala City where he went after fleeing the United States last month, said Walter B. Deering, an official with the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service.
"There was no altercation, no violence," Deering, assistant director for domestic operations, said at a news conference at Arlington police headquarters, where Koucky was brought last evening by police motorcade. "He just walked out and surrendered."
Law enforcement authorities launched a search for Koucky after he failed to appear at a bond hearing Tuesday in Arlington Circuit Court. His $3,000 bond was revoked, but police learned Wednesday night that Koucky, who has admitted to abusing about 300 young boys in his adult life, had already skipped town, catching a flight from Atlanta to Guatemala more than a week ago.
Arlington police said other potential victims have come forward after seeing Koucky's photograph in the media.
Calling it a "miraculously quick turnaround," Capt. Richard Alt, commander of criminal investigations for the county police department, said Koucky had no intention of coming back. Koucky had hired an auction company to remove and sell everything from his home on Arlington's South Edison Street, Alt said.
"If we were not quick on this, we would not have seen him again," Alt said.
Authorities said cooperation among the Diplomatic Security Service, the U.S. Marshals Service and the police department led to Koucky's quick capture.
Koucky was arrested by Guatemalan authorities after they learned that he was staying in a residential complex outside of Guatemala City. He then was escorted from the country and turned over to U.S. law enforcement officials under an expulsion order issued by the Guatemalan government that allows speedy deportation of people deemed "undesirable," Deering said.
Koucky, who faces additional charges of failing to appear in court, will have a hearing Tuesday in Circuit Court. Calls to his attorney, Alene C. Grabauskas, were not returned yesterday.
Koucky's release on bond elicited anger from police and the family of the 17-year-old boy Koucky is accused of molesting over several years.
After his arrest on a charge of carnal knowledge of a child, Koucky was released June 17 on bond by a magistrate. Prosecutors argued unsuccessfully to juvenile court judge George D. Varoutsos that Koucky's bond should be revoked, citing his prior convictions and his documented admission to abusing "around 300 boys" by his count.
Yesterday, the mother of the victim, who is not being named to protect her son's identity, expressed elation and relief over Koucky's apprehension.
"I want his picture on the front page in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs," she said. "I'm very pleased that the system recognized that he is a predator and it's important to get him off the streets."
She described Koucky as a trusted friend who used his charisma, humor and friendliness to manipulate and harm her family.
"Unfortunately, there are people like that in our midst," she said. "I'm very relieved that he's not going to harm anyone else."
Arlington police launched an investigation in May, when the mother contacted them because her son threatened to kill himself due to the alleged abuse.
Court records show that Koucky had a history of sexually abusing boys. He admitted in an April 27 report that he was attracted to boys ages 14 to 17, had trouble controlling his fantasies and had committed numerous sex acts on minors throughout his adult life.
Koucky had been registered as a sex offender in Virginia, but because he was not deemed violent, his name appeared on a list available only to groups such as day-care centers, schools and nursing homes. It was not on the public sex offender registry.
Koucky had charges dating to 1990, according to papers filed in Charles County District Court in La Plata. Records showed that he was arrested in Florida on charges of lewd and lascivious behavior. He was also arrested in December 1993 by police in Frederick on charges of soliciting a 16-year-old boy for prostitution, according to court records. Those records said that case required Koucky to register as a sex offender in the District, where he lived before to moving to Arlington. He did so, though he was not charged with any offenses in the District.
Alt said the investigation continues and police are encouraging anyone who might have information about other victims to call Arlington County police at 703-228-4245 or Crime Solvers at 800-673-2777.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company