King County Sheriff responds to prostitution probe

by: Amy Clancy Updated:

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Three veteran King County deputies were placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday after investigators began looking into a prostitution allegation.

The investigation is focused on a 49-year-old deputy, who is a member of the SWAT team and assigned to the Ravensdale Range.

Police sources told KIRO 7 that the wife of the 19-year deputy is a professional sexual escort and that her husband was somehow complicit regarding the illegal activities.

Two other deputies, one also assigned to the Ravensdale Range and the other a detective with the Major Crimes Unit, are also being investigated.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart declined to name the three deputies, however, “because we don't release the names of anybody that's under an investigation."

On Friday, Urquhart also refused to say exactly what all three are being investigated for and claimed some published reports on the investigation are inaccurate.  He also said this is an open criminal and policy investigation and he said it's unfortunate someone in the Sheriff's Office or Prosecutor's Office leaked information.

"We don't talk about open investigations," said Urquhart during an interview Friday morning. "Some of that information is wrong. In fact, some of it is 180 degrees wrong."

The 19-year department veteran is being investigated after divorce documents he filed in King County Superior Court identify his wife as an “escort.”  A police source told KIRO 7 that the deputy was somehow complicit with the illegal activity of his wife, despite his position as a law enforcement officer.

Urquhart said it's not uncommon for officers to be placed on leave and said he'll reserve judgment until the investigation is complete.

The 49-year-old deputy and his wife are in the middle of a divorce and custody dispute over their two sons.

According to court documents, the deputy filed for a protective order, claiming his wife was violent and that she threatened him repeatedly through text messages.  While the documents mentioned the wife's work as an escort, they reveal no involvement by the husband -- perhaps because he’s the one who filed the documents with the court.

Search warrants connected with the investigations were served Tuesday, but another police source said those documents have been sealed.

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