Rape charges dismissed against police officer; prosecutors say accuser fabricated allegations
Prosecutors have dismissed domestic-violence assault and witness-tampering charges against a Bellevue police officer who was arrested in July, and have opted not to pursue rape charges against another Bellevue officer, both incidents involving the same woman.
Both officers’ legal troubles stemmed from allegations made by an Issaquah woman, who, according to an investigation by the King County Sheriff’s Office, has a history of seeking out men on Craigslist and then falsely reporting those consensual encounters as a crime to police.
According to police, she had made false rape accusations twice previously.
Sgt. Ryan Abbott of the King County Sheriff’s Office said that due to concerns about the 44-year-old woman’s mental heath, investigators are not recommending that she be charged with any crime, including false reporting.
“Although some may say that justice was served in this process, my client sure doesn’t see it that way,” said , Jeffrey Cohen, the attorney for former Bellevue officer John Kivlin, who resigned after he was charged. “She has destroyed lives and reputations and now he’s got to try to put his life back together.”
That investigation also turned up evidence that the woman may be behind a criminal investigation into Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett, who has been on paid administrative leave since the Bothell Police Department began an investigation in August.
The allegation against Mylett has not been made public and, on Monday, Mylett said he was not yet free to speak about the situation. Mylett referred questions about his employment status with Bellevue to a city spokesperson, who directed questions to Bothell police.
Efforts to reach a Bothell police spokesman on Monday were unsuccessful.
Kivlin was arrested in July on assault and witness-tampering charges for allegedly attempting to coerce the woman, his girlfriend for several months, into recanting allegations that he twice punched her in the face in April.
The investigation records show Kivlin dated the woman from September to April, while both were married to other people. When the King County Sheriff’s Office looked into the woman’s domestic-violence claims against Kivlin, a detective came across text messages suggesting she had been sexually assaulted by another Bellevue police officer, according to the records.
In a May interview, the woman told a sheriff’s detective that before dating Kivlin, she previously had met a Bellevue police detective through a Craigslist ad in 2015 and later had consensual sex with him, the records say. During a second encounter with the detective, the woman said she drank too much and passed out, and she contends the detective raped her while she was unconscious, the records say.
The sheriff’s investigation identified another man accused by the woman who claimed he had answered an advertisement on Craigslist posted by a “female … asking for someone to help make her fantasy of being raped come true,” according to reports.
After Kivlin’s arrest, he gave permission to investigators to do a forensic analysis of his phone.
Prosecutors said that search revealed that the Issaquah woman had lied when she said Kivlin had contacted her in violation of a no-contact order.
“The investigation revealed (the woman) had made up evidence that Kivlin had contacted her in August. A forensic analysis of (her) cellphone revealed she was the one who initiated contact with Kivlin on Craigslist by posing as ‘Cynthia.’ The woman’s claim that Kivlin contacted her in August was not true,” the prosecutor wrote. “As a result of the investigation, Kivlin was released from custody and the new charges against Kivlin were dismissed.” Kivlin has resigned from the Bellevue Police Department.
In dismissing the charges against Kivlin, prosecutors said that the alleged victim “fabricated evidence and used a sophisticated ruse to deceive Kivlin, law enforcement, prosecutors, and the Court in order to have Kivlin taken into custody and charged with additional crimes.”
The upshot, prosecutors said, was that “law enforcement arrested Kivlin for crimes he did not commit, prosecutors filed charges against Kivlin for crimes he did not commit, and the Court held Kivlin in custody for order violations which he did not commit.”
The woman, according to the investigation by the sheriff’s office, had made prior false rape reports to law enforcement in 2009 and 2010. Those reports resulted in “extensive” investigations that ultimately led to her admission that she had fabricated the rape allegations.
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