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King County Sheriff won’t face charge over alleged groping

John Urquhart, Sheriff for King County

SEATTLE (AP) — Prosecutors won’t file criminal charges against King County Sheriff John Urquhart based on a former deputy’s accusation that Urquhart groped him in 2014 outside a restaurant.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe said Friday he has declined to file a criminal case following his review of a two-month Renton police investigation.

The investigation found probable cause that Urquhart allegedly committed a potential sex crime against Brian Barnes.

In a letter to the case investigator explaining his legal reasoning, Roe determined the alleged groping did not rise to the level of the charge for felony indecent liberties, and the statute of limitations has passed on an alternative gross misdemeanor charge of assault with sexual motivation.

“I simply don’t believe, even if one accepts everything the alleged victim says as true, that the alleged actions of Mr. Urquhart constitute that very serious, violent, Class A felony sex offense,” Roe said in a statement.

Urquhart has denied the allegations and is suing Barnes for defamation.

“As I have said all along, what was alleged never occurred,” Urquhart said in a statement. “A polygraph proved as much. It is unfortunate, but not coincidental, that the accusation came out so close to the election. As Mark Twain said, ‘A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.'”

This story is breaking and will be updated as more information becomes available.