Veteran Seattle Cop Who Groped 3 SPD Employees is Sentenced to 12 Months Probation

On Friday, November 3, 2017, King County Superior Court Judge Susan H. Amini.

Invoking recent sexual-harassment allegations leveled at high-profile men, a King County judge on Friday sentenced a veteran Seattle police officer to 12 months of probation after he was accused of groping three department employees.

John Knight, 52, who joined the department in 1990, pleaded guilty last month to one count of fourth-degree assault, a gross misdemeanor in which he admitted he intentionally touched all three victims in an offensive and unwanted manner between October 2014 and August 2016.

He was originally charged with three counts of fourth-degree assault, including two with sexual motivation.

In addition to probation, Superior Court Judge Susan Amini sentenced Knight to the maximum 364 days in jail that was suspended on condition he have no future criminal violations and no contact with the victims.

Amini rejected a request from Knight’s attorney to impose a deferred sentence, which would have allowed the conviction to be lifted if Knight followed the court’s conditions.

All three victims — Officer Amber McLeod, Officer Brad Johnson and administrative assistant Victoria James — urged Amini to reject that option during emotional remarks to the court, in which they spoke painfully and graphically about what happened to them.

“He had power over me, and he knew it,” James told the judge.

The Seattle Times doesn’t normally name sexual-assault victims, but the three gave permission through their attorney.

The allegations came to light during an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) investigation last year into the conduct of Knight, who worked in the department’s Training and Education Section, according to Seattle police.

During the investigation, Knight was administratively reassigned to his home.

With the criminal case over, the investigation will be completed promptly, the department said Friday in a statement, adding Knight remains on administrative leave.

“The Department is committed to maintaining a safe and equitable workplace for all our employees,” the statement says. “Harassment in any form will not be tolerated.”

Knight faces potential discipline up to termination.

The three victims complained about Knight to their lieutenant in August 2016, according to charging documents filed in the case.

This week, they filed a claim against the city, alleging Knight’s conduct was “foreseeable and preventable” based on at least two prior EEO investigations by 2009 that raised sexual-harassment concerns.

Damages could collectively exceed $5 million, according to the claim filed by their attorney, Cheryl Snow, who said the city has 60 days to resolve the matter or face a lawsuit.

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