SEATTLE – Everett police served search warrants at eight Java Juggs and Twin Peaks coffee stands Tuesday and arrested a Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant, a 30-year veteran of the force, who they allege was tipping off baristas to undercover police operations.
The 51-year-old owner of the coffee stands and a 22-year-old manager were also arrested. The owner was arrested for conspiracy to promote prostitution and permitting prostitution; the manager was arrested for prostitution and conspiracy to promote prostitution.
In all, seven women ages 21 to 24 were detained and could face charges for lewd conduct and prostitution.
According to court documents, customers would frequently purchase coffee and said the barista could keep the change for a “show.” The baristas then allegedly exposed themselves, or simulated a sex act, while in the coffee stand. Police allegedly documented baristas sticking bare body parts out of the coffee shop windows. The 22-year-old manager was reportedly caught on video tape performing sex acts for men in the back of her car outside the coffee stand after hours.
Court documents also showed the owner would frequently hire workers with a “dancer’s” history, and many with a “pornographic background.” She also allegedly rewarded the “dirty” baristas with more work hours and time at the busier coffee stands.
The owner made approximately $1.5 million in income last year, court records show.
O’Neill, the Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant, is accused of having sex with the owner and a manager inside one of the stands while he was in full uniform and on duty.
In court documents, detectives say they have seen video of O’Neill hugging and kissing the baristas while in uniform and never buying a cup of coffee. One barista told investigators she would get texts from the owner warning them about undercover investigations, information alleged to have come from O’Neill in exchange for sex.
Everett Deputy Police Chief Dan Templeman said, “Anytime we become aware of a law enforcement officer who breaches the trust of the community, and the trust of those of us that are working in this profession, we’re going to take very swift action and that’s what we’ve done in this case.”
Investigators said O’Neill’s name first surfaced last October when officers in Kent investigated complaints about naughty baristas. One of those baristas told investigators about the “sheriff” who was helping the stands in Edmonds and Everett keep from getting busted.
Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said of O’Neill: “He`s been placed on administrative (leave) and, as soon as the criminal investigation is completed, we will begin an internal investigation. We hope to go through that process as quickly as possible.”
O’Neill was being booked into the Marysville Jail.