A former county detective, who allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a sex crime victim, is facing the loss of his police credentials.
On April 18, the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission charged former San Juan County Detective Stephen Parker with one count of official misconduct and/or failure of duty and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant and/or false swearing. Parker has until June 22 to ask for a hearing. If he fails to make this request, his officer certification will be revoked, according to Tisha Jones, certification manager for the commission.
According to the charging documents, Parker is facing a misconduct charge because he wilfully neglected to perform his duty as an officer and his actions involved dishonesty and/or a false statement.
Parker made a false or misleading statement when “he voluntarily submitted a signed statement under penalty of perjury to Deputy Lori Sigman of the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office [the third party who investigated Parker’s relationship with the victim]. Parker’s sworn statement contained a materially false account of his relationship with [the victim],” according to the charging documents.
On Aug. 8, Parker wrote in that statement, “I have never had any type of relationship whether physical, sexual or emotional with [the victim].”
The Sigman investigation concluded this was not the case.
A look at Parker’s history
In June 2016, former Orcas Island teacher Gerald Grellet-Tinner was found guilty of two counts of sexual misconduct in the first degree. In the state of Washington a teacher and student both have to be 21 or older to have consensual sex. The victim was 19 at the time. Later that summer, a new trial was granted based on lead detective Parker’s alleged relationship with the student. In December 2016, Parker resigned. A few weeks later he sold his island home and moved with his family to Florida. In 2017, the independent investigation was finalized. The final report alleged that Parker had an inappropriate relationship with the crime victim, showed disrespectful conduct toward her, used aliases to hide communication with her and shared details of other cases. In April 2017, San Juan Superior Court Judge Donald Eaton dismissed the misconduct charge against Grellet-Tinner. A few days later, Grellet-Tinner’s attorney sent a press release stating they would be seeking $10 million in compensation for damages stemming from the alleged violation of his constitutional rights by the county.
Parker’s questionable conduct was responsible for reduced charges or dismissal of three sex crime cases in San Juan County. In addition to the Grellet-Tinner case, a former San Juan Island soccer coach, originally charged with the rape of a child, agreed to a plea deal of a misdemeanor on July 12, 2017. According to prosecutors, Parker failed to report the incident to them. A year after the alleged crime occurred, the victim’s parents came to the sheriff’s office to complain that no action had been taken. Sheriff Ron Krebs asked a deputy to investigate the case. The deputy found three recorded interviews made by Parker: two from the victim and one from the soccer coach. These initial files never made it to the prosecutor’s office.
The third case involved rape charges of a 20-month-old child, which were dropped to molestation charges on Jan. 6, 2017 because the perpetrator’s confession to Parker was thrown out by the judge. (Read more at www.islandssounder.com.)
Both Parker and Grellet-Tinner maintain their innocence to this day.