2 Seattle police officers reprimanded for handling of rape allegation against sheriff

Officers Christopher Couet and Jamison Maehler also were ordered to receive training in using appropriate professional discretion when dealing with the public.

Two Seattle police officers have been reprimanded for improperly classifying a police report as a “disturbance” after a former sheriff’s deputy alleged last year that she had been raped by King County Sheriff John Urquhart years earlier.

Along with written reprimands placed in their personnel files, Officers Christopher Couet and Jamison Maehler also were ordered to receive training in using appropriate professional discretion when dealing with the public.

The police department’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA) recommended the officers’ discipline and training following an internal investigation stemming from questions about the case raised by The Seattle Times. Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole approved the findings and discipline last month.

The officers have since grieved the discipline, OPA Interim Director Andrew Myerberg said in an email Thursday. Kevin Stuckey, president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

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The case stems from a 911 call in November, when the former deputy asked for a female officer to come take her report that Urquhart allegedly sexually assaulted her after a night of drinking in 2002.

A short time later, Couet and Maehler arrived at the woman’s apartment. She agreed to talk with them, giving the officers the names of potential witnesses and other details about the alleged assault.

But the officers primarily focused on her self-disclosure of a mental-health diagnosis. When they later wrote a police report, they classified the matter as a “disturbance-other” and described the woman as delusional, but failed to document witness names and other details about the reported assault.

“As a direct result of the incomplete and mislabeled … report, the SAU (sexual assault unit) investigation of this report was delayed,” the OPA’s investigation found. “In addition, the complainant/victim experienced distress at not having her report taken seriously and lost trust in the Seattle Police Department.”

Seattle police ultimately opened a sexual-assault investigation into the woman’s claims in January after The Times asked about the case. A prosecutor and detective eventually cleared…

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