Seattle-Area Sheriff Accused of Suppressing Rape Allegation

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Recently filed documents in a lawsuit contend King County, Wash., Sheriff John Urquhart directed his department’s internal investigations squad not to formally document a woman’s allegation this year that he raped her 14 years ago, reports the Seattle Times, despite department protocols that require such claims to be recorded and reviewed. The woman — a former sheriff’s deputy — reported the alleged 2002 rape to the FBI in June, and a detective with the Internal Investigations Unit later became aware of her claim when an FBI agent inquired about it. After learning of the allegation, then-sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Mike Mullinax notified his supervisor, Capt. Jesse Anderson, according to both men’s sworn depositions given in October as part of an ongoing lawsuit against King County alleging discrimination against female deputies.

In turn, the two investigators told Urquhart about the rape allegation, and Anderson asked if he wanted it entered into Blue Team, the department’s computer system that formally tracks personnel misconduct complaints. “I asked the sheriff if he would like this documented in Blue Team and he said no,” Anderson reported in notes he took about the conversation. It was the second time Urquhart had directed investigators to ignore allegations he had had sexual contact with the woman, Anderson testified in his deposition. Another deputy had complained in 2014 that Urquhart had a consensual affair with the same woman while he was her supervisor. Urquhart, 69, who is married and won election in 2013 on a platform of bringing accountability to the Sheriff’s Office, vehemently denies the woman’s rape allegation as well as the purported affair.

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