Rep. John Curtis has regrets about the best way he treated the abrupt departure of a Provo police leader who’s now accused by way of 5 Utah ladies of sexual misconduct.
Then Provo’s mayor, Curtis allowed John King to renounce from his place as town’s best cop last March, after a girl accused the manager of raping her. Now, the Republican congressman stated he questions himself.
Should he have fired King as a substitute? Should he have let King to start with inform the general public he was once leaving on account of circle of relatives well being problems?
And will have to he had been harsher in condemning the manager’s movements in a information convention when he later introduced that King was once leaving the city on account of a sexual attack allegation?
“I’ll question myself as much as anybody else,” he stated Friday in a assembly with the Salt Lake Tribune editorial board.
And on Friday — days after the 5 ladies filed a lawsuit announcing Curtis and others didn’t correctly reply to harassment allegations involving King — Curtis printed another example during which he were instructed about a dispatcher complaining of the police leader’s habits.
In a long observation launched to the media earlier this week, Curtis stated he was once made conscious about two lawsuits towards King throughout his three-year tenure: an incident during which a police dispatcher instructed town that she felt uncomfortable with the best way King checked out her, and the file of sexual attack in 2017 that resulted in King’s dismissal.
But the former mayor stated Friday that, after he launched the observation, he was once reminded of another incident involving a dispatcher. Curtis stated that someday — he couldn’t consider the date — dispatchers got a survey asking about their paintings atmosphere after a former officer’s circle of relatives member emailed him imprecise allegations of irrelevant habits throughout the dispatch middle.
Thirteen employees answered. A dozen stated they’d no problems, in keeping with Curtis, and one reported that the police leader “makes me uncomfortable.”
In reaction, Curtis stated he spoke with King within the mayor’s place of job, environment obstacles of the place he may pass within the dispatch middle and asking him to retake a coaching direction on sexual harassment. It was once the one disciplinary motion towards the manager earlier than he was once compelled out in 2017.
But it was once the second one time the former mayor had spoken to King about dispatcher lawsuits, Curtis stated Friday.
He additionally spoke to the manager after a dispatcher reported to town that King had checked out her inappropriately. (He may now not consider when the file got here in or whether or not it was once from the similar dispatcher who’s now suing town.)
When he requested King about the file, the manager claimed he “didn’t know where she got that from,” and Curtis stated he instructed King that he “couldn’t leave any room for misinterpretation.”
The lawsuit says Curtis known as a assembly with police supervisors in 2014 and instructed them he didn’t need to listen extra harassment lawsuits about King, and that King would stick round so long as Curtis was once mayor.
Curtis on Friday stated the assembly was once mischaracterized, that he had known as the assembly to speak about a new, unpopular “beat program” that King had carried out within the Police Department. He stated there was once additionally fear within the division that King would now not keep in Provo lengthy as a result of his spouse didn’t transfer to Utah with him.
“That was absolutely all,” Curtis stated. “Never, under any circumstances, would I infer that they were expected to follow him if anything was not appropriate, let alone sexual harassment.”
Reporting by way of The Tribune additionally showed that the Provo City Council held a closed-door assembly associated with King’s alleged misconduct in past due 2015 or early 2016. Curtis would now not speak about what was once stated in that assembly as it was once in a closed consultation.
The lawsuit additionally says town didn’t do its due diligence in hiring King, who had all of a sudden departed two earlier jobs underneath unclear instances. Both departures had been coated in newspapers and had been simply discovered on the web, and the lawsuit alleges multiple police worker raised issues about King’s background when he was once employed. Curtis stated he by no means seemed up King’s identify on-line, and that he by no means heard of issues from staff who will have.
The Tribune last year reported that King was once compelled out of the Baltimore Police Department because of a file that he had sexually assaulted a co-worker.
Prosecutors in Maryland and Utah have declined to report fees towards King.
Curtis stated Friday that he didn’t be informed about the former allegations till after King had left the dept. He stated town, by means of an out of doors recruiting company, had carried out a screening procedure that integrated a background test, a psychiatric analysis and a polygraph take a look at. King was once the best choice from a seven-member hiring committee, Curtis stated, including that he known as a number of individuals who knew King.
He estimated that Provo spent “tens of thousands of dollars” contracting with the California hiring company Citygate Associates — and that not anything questionable got here up.
“It’s not a small thing,” he stated. “Clearly, that’s why you use a professional firm: You don’t always have the expertise inside. This is what they do for a living.”
The Tribune has reached out to Citygate for remark about King’s hiring a couple of instances, as just lately as final week, however staff there have now not answered.
Several of the ladies who filed the lawsuit, from the dispatcher who filed the primary grievance in 2014 to the police volunteer whose grievance resulted in King’s ouster, say they hope their lawsuit brings about a trade in Provo and forestalls a identical state of affairs from happening.
Curtis stated he, too, hopes town seems at its processes.
“I have to believe that Provo city would like to improve and would be looking for things themselves,” he stated. “What were the breakdowns, just in the hiring process alone?”
City officers have stated just lately that Provo’s new mayor, Michelle Kaufusi, is tracking an investigation carried out by way of town officers and has made it “a top priority” to be sure that staff have a secure paintings atmosphere.
Curtis is up for re-election in November, twelve months after first taking his U.S. House seat in a particular contest to switch Jason Chaffetz. The freshman lawmaker can have a rematch this 12 months towards former GOP state Rep. Chris Herrod, who defeated Curtis at conference in 2017 however misplaced to him in the main.
The controversy over King, Curtis stated Friday, may impact his campaign.
“This will leave a mark,” he stated. “This hurts fundraising. This hurts when you want to be chairman of a committee. This hurts 10 years from now, when you want you want to apply for an executive job.”