updated 4/18/2004 8:53:09 PM ET 2004-04-19T00:53:09

A sex offender whom authorities had been trying to find since his release from prison this month was arrested Sunday.

Edward Stokes, 49, had been freed April 7 from a California prison where he had been serving a life sentence. A court threw out his child molestation conviction because he was unable to confront his accuser, who committed suicide.

Stokes was arrested at a laundry in Gresham, near Portland, and is accused of providing a false address to obtain a Washington state driver’s license.

Authorities have described Stokes as one of the worst sexual predators on the West Coast. In a letter to a therapist in the early 1990s, Stokes said he had molested 212 victims and felt like a monster.

Stokes had been convicted of assaulting Blue Karak, 16, in 1996, after meeting the boy in a Seattle coffeehouse. Karak committed suicide before Stokes’ trial.

Stokes had been arrested at least five times in Washington and Oregon on sex charges dating from 1974. In 1995, he completed a three-year sentence in Oregon for sex abuse and sodomy.

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