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Auburn police officer accused of groping woman during traffic stop

A veteran Auburn police officer was off the job and under investigation for allegedly groping a woman during a traffic stop in February 2013.

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KENT — Veteran Auburn police officer John Michael Clemmons has pleaded guilty to fondling a woman during a traffic stop.

John Clemmons

Former police officer John Clemmons at the King County Superior Court Monday.

It’s already cost him his job and it will likely cost him his career in law enforcement as well.

“Not exactly everything I wanted to happen happened.  I’m glad that he isn’t able to be an officer anymore and that he did lose his badge,” victim Hannah Thompson said.

Thompson was surrounded Monday by family, her five-month ordeal just about over.

It happened Jan. 27, just after closing time at the Sports Page Bar and Grill in Auburn.

According to court documents, Thompson pulled out of the parking lot and noticed a marked Auburn police car following her.

It was Clemmons, but she says he never turned on his flashing lights and never pulled her over until she reached her driveway.

She says he put her through a sobriety test, cuffed her and put her in the back of his squad car.

Shortly thereafter while she was handcuffed, she say,s Clemmons groped her under the guise of a pat-down.

“When he went down the pants, he started from the left side down to his knuckles and went to the front to the right side and then back from the right side and down to the front again,” Thompson said.

In court, Clemmons pleaded guilty to one count of 4th degree assault, taking a plea deal that allows him to avoid jail time, but he loses his Washington state police officer certification and will likely never work as a police officer again.

Clemmons, who has two Purple Hearts, blamed the incident on PTSD.

“I saw a lot of violence, extreme violence.  I was put in situations that were extremely dangerous,” former Auburn police officer John Michael Clemmons said.

Clemmons’ fellow officers were in court to show their suppor,t and on the other side sat the victim.

All along Thompson said she wanted Clemmons to lose his job, so that he couldn’t hurt anyone else.

Thompson chose to make a statement in court Monday about how the incident changed her life forever.

“I don`t feel safe in Auburn at all, especially when these other officers are inn court to support him and I don’t feel safe when I still live in Auburn,” Thompson said.

APD commanders say all officers have been retrained on the department’s standards and expectations.

“We want to make sure it doesn’t happen again so yes we’ve taken steps to insure that officers understand that there are consequences to their actions and we want to make sure that their standards are as high as we expect them to be,” Auburn police Commander Mike Hirman said.

Clemmons was sentenced to one year in jail, deferred, which means he won’t actually serve time, plus two years of probation and community service.

KENT — Former Auburn police officer John Michael Clemmons pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court Monday to assault for fondling a woman during a traffic stop.

John Clemmons

Former police officer John Clemmons at the King County Superior Court Monday.

It’s already cost him his job and it will likely cost him his career in law enforcement as well.

The assault happened Jan. 27, shortly after closing time at the Sports Page bar in Auburn.

The victim, 24-year-old Hannah Thompson, noticed an Auburn police car following her as she was driving home, but said he never turned on his flashing lights and never pulled her over until she reached her driveway.

Shortly thereafter, she said, Clemmons groped her under the guise of a pat-down while she was handcuffed.

“He put it (his hand) directly down my shirt and moved it around below the wire in my bra, then he put his hands knuckle-deep into my pants. He moved it right to left and then down to the front,” Thompson said.

In court Monday, Clemmons pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree assault, taking a plea deal that allows him to avoid jail time. He also loses his Washington state police officer certification and will likely never work as a police officer again.

In a strange twist, Clemmons, who has two purple hearts, blamed the incident on post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I saw a lot of violence, extreme violence and was put in situations that were extremely dangerous,” Clemmons said.

Clemmons’ fellow officers were in court to show their support, and on the other side sat the victim.

Thompson has said all along that she wanted Clemmons to lose his job so that he couldn’t hurt anyone else.

Thompson chose to make a statement in court Monday about how the incident changed her life forever.

“I don’t feel safe in Auburn at all, especially when these other officers are in court to support him and I don’t feel safe when I still live in Auburn,” Thompson said.

Clemmons was sentenced to one year in jail, deferred, which means he won’t actually serve time, plus two years probation and community service.

KENT — Former Auburn police officer John Michael Clemmons pleaded guilty Monday to a fourth-degree assault charge for assaulting a young woman in her driveway after a traffic stop in January.

The guilty plea comes after the woman accused Clemmons of groping her.

Clemmons officially resigned from Auburn police department earlier this year.

Local News
02/07/13

Woman accuses Auburn cop of sexual assault

thompson1AUBURN — A veteran Auburn police officer is off the job and under investigation for allegedly groping a woman during a traffic stop.

The alleged victim, Hannah Thompson, said in an interview Thursday night that the incident began at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, when she was pulling out of the parking lot of The Sports Page restaurant bar in Auburn.

“I had seen a cop and we kind of made eye contact and I just kind of got a weird feeling,” Thompson said. “It was like a weird vibe.”

As she drove two blocks to her home, Thompson said, he noticed the officer was following her but he never turned on his lights and didn’t attempt to pull her over until she pulled into her driveway.

Thompson said she told the officer she was pregnant and only had one glass of wine. He gave her a field sobriety test anyway, she said, and then handcuffed her, put her in his squad car and groped her under the guise of a pat-down.

“He put it (his hand) directly down my shirt and, like, underneath the (bra) wire,” she said. “He didn’t grope each (breast) one, but he touched both. And then when he went down the pants, he started from the left side, probably had his hand up to his knuckles and then went from the front to the right side and then back from the right side and down to the front again … he never searched, I had a jacket on, he didn’t search the pockets. He didn’t search my jean pockets, and then I just started crying when he did that,” Thompson said.

The officer then took off the handcuffs and let her go, she said.

She reported the incident to another police department and a criminal investigation is under way.

“Puyallup is doing the criminal investigation and then, as soon as they’re done with that, they will present what they find to the King County prosecutor and we’ll take it from there,” Auburn police Cmdr. Mike Hirman said.

Thompson said she wants the officer punished so no other woman has to go through what she says she was forced to endure.

“Like the whole time, when he was, like, touching me and stuff, he had, like, this smirk on his face and a look in his eyes like he was comfortable with it, like he had done it before, like he knew he could get away with it,” Thompson said.

“I don’t think he should be allowed to be a police officer,” she added. “I feel like, if he does this kind of stuff, who knows what else he could be involved in?”

The Puyallup Police Department’s criminal investigation is expected to be finished by sometime next week, after which Auburn police will conduct its own internal investigation.

The officer is not being named because he is not currently charged with a crime.

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