Early last week, Bellevue, Washington, Police Chief Steve Mylett resumed his job after being suspended due to false charges being made against him.
The case took on a life of its own due to the salaciousness of the charges against him — allegedly raping a woman in a nearby town — as well as the dramatic way he was cleared.
According to the Seattle Times, Mylett resumed duty after an investigation by police in nearby Bothell revealed the woman was lying about the alleged sexual assault and that DNA material collected during the investigation didn’t match the chief.
“His accuser, a 44-year-old Issaquah woman, came forward in early August with claims Mylett had raped her two years earlier during an encounter at his Bothell home arranged through an adult sex website,” the Times reported.
“The allegations emerged as the King County Sheriff’s Office separately investigated the woman’s claims against two other Bellevue police officers that initially led to domestic-violence assault and witness-tampering charges against one of them.”
Those officers admitted to having had sexual contact with the accuser, although they denied raping her. However, investigators quickly discovered there were serious flaws in the woman’s claims.
“Bothell investigators found Mylett’s accuser had gone so far as to create phony, backdated email exchanges that contained the address of a Bothell rental home where Mylett temporarily lived,” the Times reported.
“But lease records and other evidence proved Mylett had moved out of that house prior to when the woman claimed the assault occurred, and DNA tests ruled Mylett out as a possible match to genetic evidence gathered from clothing the woman turned over as part of the case.”
“I was shocked by some of the lengths that this individual went to,” Mylett said.
Sexual assault allegations against Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett were unfounded, according to investigators at the Bothell Police Department, and the agency instead recommends charges against his accuser. https://t.co/j3HXc29vom pic.twitter.com/JdKzdo3623
— seattlepi (@seattlepi) October 23, 2018
This wasn’t the first time his accuser had done this, either, according to the Seattle Times.
“According to the sheriff’s office, the woman has a history of seeking out men on Craigslist and then falsely reporting those consensual encounters as a crime to police,” the Times noted. “She twice previously had made false rape reports, but authorities opted not to charge her in those cases, citing her mental-health problems.”
On Monday, investigators in Bothell made it clear that Mylett wouldn’t be charged.
“Investigators concluded there was no probable cause to show that Mr. Mylett committed any crime,” a news release on the city’s website stated. “In addition, there was no substantiated evidence to prove there was ever any contact between the complainant and Mr. Mylett.”
Upon returning to work Tuesday, Mylett described his ordeal to reporters.
“I wouldn’t wish this upon anybody,” the police chief said, according to the Seattle Times.
“I have a deeper appreciation about what it means to be falsely accused, and I also have a deeper appreciation of what it’s like to be on administrative leave. And I think it will make me a better chief and a better human.”
“This was by no stretch of the imagination a vacation,” Mylett said of his two and a half months of administrative leave. “There was a lot of things that my wife and I discussed and dealt with — the what-ifs and everything else — and there was fear. There was anxiety, culminating with tremendous relief and gratitude that the members of the Bothell Police Department did such an exceptional job in rooting out the truth.”
Mylett said he wanted to move forward now.
“I had no idea why she would make the accusations that she made,” the chief said of his accuser. “With that in mind, I’m looking forward. I’m moving ahead. I’m not going to look in the past, I’m not going to look in the rearview mirror, except that this is behind us.”
As for the accuser, the tables have turned on her. Police in Bothell have issued probable-cause findings against her for perjury, tampering with evidence and making false statements to police.
“I think people should be held accountable for their actions,” Mylett said, although he refused to say whether or not charges ought to be filed against his accuser.
“I think the process of the claims that were made against me worked, and I think another process will take place and I am confident that the right decisions will be made.”
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