In the end, Arthur John Bachelier wasn’t much good at being on the lam.
Considering he blamed, by implication, Phoenix New Times for his “freaking out” and doing a runner in the first place, maybe that’s no surprise.
Now, the 33-year-old convicted sex offender who tried to open the ill-fated Monocle bar and restaurant in downtown Phoenix in 2017 is back in prison serving a six-year sentence. In four separate cases, he was convicted of violating probation and he admitted in court to tampering with his GPS monitors and failing to register as a sex offender. He also has been accused by a 27-year-old former Phoenix woman of sexually assaulting her while he was in the process of opening his bar. He has not been charged in that case.
The team of law enforcement officials that caught up with him in August after he fled to to Seattle noted that he was better at getting jobs than keeping them. He could lie his way into a good thing, they and others said, but he could never maintain the façade.
Too many cover stories. Too many fake names. Too many suspicions. They all caught up to him.
But one thing was certain from documents obtained after his conviction: He clearly didn't like being on probation.
He described supervision as “restrictive and a loss of freedom,” according to probation reports, which quoted him saying he “freaked out” when he skipped town. He claimed to be in fear of his life after getting death threats following news accounts, first reported by New Times in June 2017, of his criminal history and his doomed effort to open the Monocle.
Bachelier had been forced to wear the GPS tracker ever since he was released from prison the first time in May 2015. He had just finished serving a two-year sentence after being convicted in 2013 of sex abuse of a minor. He had admitted to repeatedly forcing himself on his sister-in-law over the course of six years, starting when she was 12 years old.
No one seemed to know any of that as he got a lot of press while announcing he was restoring an historic downtown building as the Monocle. How he expected to do that was never clear.
Felons can’t get a liquor license for five years. Bachelier was barred from drinking as a condition of probation. It’s not clear how he got the money to try to open a restaurant, but he had a business partner and rented from a prominent owner of historic buildings.
The partner had no known criminal history and may have been unaware of Bachelier’s. The century-old place on North Third Street folded, shuttered again as it had after the Roosevelt Tavern closed. It’s since reopened as the Farish House, a wine bar and restaurant.
After he was outed by New Times, he was arrested, released, encountered court battles over the new charge of tampering with the GPS bracelet plus the ongoing issue of probation violation, was the subject of a still ongoing rape investigation, and then, in March 2018, he took off for Seattle.
Even after authorities caught up with him at a west Seattle restaurant last year, according to court and police documents, he tried one last time to talk his way out of trouble.
He told arresting officers that he was “relieved to have been caught and was tired of being on the run,” and that “he was constantly in fear of being pursued by law enforcement,” Maricopa County probation officer Tyson Sam wrote in his report to court.
Except in the same interview, Sam and Tempe police reported, Bachelier said he deliberately failed to tell authorities in March 2018 about his move out of state because, “obviously, that would defeat the purpose.”
He also told Tempe police he “planned to make money while evading law enforcement by starting a company that he would run anonymously,” Tempe Detective Liliana Duran said, reading from the department’s investigative report. He also told police he planned to move around, changing his name frequently.
They had him down as Arthur Reef. Joe Piano, the owner of the west Seattle sports bar who hired him as a cook shortly before his arrest, knew him as Arthur Bastiat.
Ultimately, Bachelier was caught when somebody in west Seattle anonymously tipped off police shortly after another New Times article about him was published.
Court records released since his arrest reveal his many attempts to elude the limitations of his probation.
He got kicked out of sex-offender rehab programs twice because he skipped too many therapy sessions and refused to commit to a schedule of therapy.
He was accused of violating probation by using computers, cellphones, and drinking. He was twice charged with removing his GPS trackers, in May 2017, and again in March 2018.
The Maricopa County adult probation department took a dim view of his commitment to reforming himself.
“The defendant is clearly a danger to society and has continued to victimize those around him,” Sam reported. “The defendant is an untreated sex offender and was not in sex offender treatment when he had removed his GPS ankle monitoring device.”
He wrote how Bachelier realized the ankle bracelet wouldn’t properly send an alarm when the strap was torn, so he would remove it and then reattach it with strong glue whenever probation officers met with him. He also got his roommates to move the GPS device around in his backpack for him.
Authorities said Bachelier properly registered at eight different addresses in Phoenix, the West Valley, and Tempe. Public property records show that he and his estranged wife had a house in Surprise, which they struggled to keep through foreclosure proceedings.
Bachelier first told authorities the monitoring device had fallen off in the shower and he was relieved when helicopters didn’t show up over his Phoenix home. But then he admitted taking advantage and blamed the probation department for not following up and for letting him get away with it.
Because Bachelier had removed his tracker, was an untreated sex offender, and had reported having sex with “random females,” there was no way of knowing where he had gone, “thus placing the community at risk,” Sam concluded.
All of that worries the 27-year-old woman who reported to Phoenix police that Bachelier sexually assaulted her on the floor of the Monocle.
A month before the Monocle was closed, probation officer Sam wrote an unflattering report about Bachelier’s progress for the court. “This officer has reason to believe that the defendant has failed to comply with (several) terms of probation."
Bachelier had tampered with his electronic monitoring device and violated his probation terms by having alcohol on him, Sam told the court. He also violated restrictions on internet access by getting a smartphone without prior approval.
Bachelier was arrested for the violations on May 17, 2017, and released May 19 on $500 bond.
Less than two weeks later, while Bachelier was still preparing the Monocle to open, the woman says she was attacked by him sometime during the Memorial Day weekend.
Two years later, the assault case has yet to be charged. The DNA evidence remains untested, she said.
“He was able to abscond and assault me when he felt trapped and was let go on $500 bond,” the woman said.
“My disappointment is how he was treated after the probation violation. That just facilitated my rape, because he wasn’t being monitored,” she added. “I was handed to him on a platter.”
The woman, who has since left the state and changed careers to become a rape counselor, understands her case is hard to prove and acknowledges that it may never go to court. And she’s “relieved” Bachelier is behind bars, at least until 2023 including time served, according to Arizona Department of Corrections records.
But in assessing a system she called negligent, she echoes the probation report and others who encountered Bachelier.
“What did this person have to do to show he was a candidate for prison? There were so many violations. How many people could he possibly have hurt in those two years? What about his character or behavior convinced anyone he was not a threat to society?" she said in a phone interview.
“The statistics surrounding sexual assaults that go unreported and the number of victims the average rapist has leads me to believe Arthur is likely have many other victims and I hope his incarceration brings them the same peace of mind it brings me," she added in an email. "I can only hope upon his future release, he will be seriously monitored and treated like the predator he is."
Finally, she noted, “I’m happy the state of Arizona has finally acknowledged he is a risk."
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.