from the website:
A twice-convicted sex offender accused of raping a woman in Charleston last weekend is a solo tow truck operator who trolls the city's streets looking for business while under "intensive probation," authorities said.
Jonathan Jason Stankowitz runs Coastal Towing out of his North Charleston home, police said. But the operation apparently lacks a business license to operate in the city of Charleston and the surrounding county, according to city and county officials.
Law and Disorder
A look at South Carolina's broken probation and parole system - an occasional series from The Post and Courier
Stankowitz, 34, is accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman Sunday after offering to tow her car from a Meeting Street convenience store so she wouldn't have to drive after drinking, according to a police report. The woman told police she was attacked in the tow truck at a James Island shopping center.
Stankowitz is charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and violating the terms of his probation. He was released from the county jail Thursday after posting $125,000 bail, according to jail officials.
The victim's father said Thursday that she was battered and bruised in the assault and remains traumatized. He said his daughter had no clue Stankowitz was a registered sex offender when she accepted his offer of a ride.
South Carolina doesn't require criminal background checks for tow truck drivers, and sex offenders are free to work in that capacity, even if it puts them alone with vulnerable people in remote settings.
That doesn't sit well with Melonea Locklair Marek, executive director of People Against Rape. She said the lack of oversight could give predators the perfect cover to troll for victims, waiting for the right situation to arise.
"In my opinion, anyone in this type of position should be checked," she said.
Stankowitz's probation agent knew he worked as a tow truck driver, but that didn't raise red flags, said Pete O'Boyle, director of public information for the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.
"We just can't exclude these guys from every possible employment that brings them in contact with even adults," he said.
State probation records show Stankowitz works for a towing company along the Grand Strand, and probation agents had been in contact with the company's owner, O'Boyle said. That same man, however, told The Post and Courier that Stankowitz is just a friend and has no connection whatsoever to his business.
Stankowitz pleaded guilty in 2002 to peeping through the windows of a 32-year-old woman's home on Sarah Street in Charleston, state records show. "This is an ongoing sequence of such behavior by this defendant with the victim and other neighbors," the arrest affidavit states.
Former Circuit Judge Victor Rawl placed Stankowitz on probation for a year and ordered him to get mental health counseling.
In 2005, Charleston police charged him with fondling a 13-year-old girl at his Risher Street home. He also was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for showing a pornographic video to a 13-year-old boy, an arrest affidavit shows. A booking sheet listed his profession at the time as "repo" man and bounty hunter.
Stankowitz pleaded guilty to the charges in 2007. Circuit Judge Markley Dennis ordered him to get counseling and placed him on five years probation for the delinquency charge and one count of committing a lewd act upon a minor, court records show.
Stankowitz was placed on the highest level of supervision, requiring weekly contact with his probation agent and frequent home visits, O'Boyle said. His file noted no problems up until his arrest Monday, he said.