By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EDMONDS – An Edmonds police officer accused of having sex with a woman while on duty is now charged with a felony sex crime.
Prosecutors on Thursday charged Daniel Lavely with first-degree custodial sexual misconduct. He is scheduled to be arraigned next week in Snohomish County Superior Court.
The Edmonds officer, 47, is accused of engaging in sex with a woman he stopped in May while on patrol. It is against the law for a police officer to have sex with somebody they are detaining, even if the contact is consensual.
Court papers say Lavely escorted the woman, 28, from a motel room and placed her in the back of his patrol car. The woman told investigators that Lavely drove her to deserted parking lot along Highway 99 and ordered her out of the car. That’s when he allegedly fondled her and then engaged in sex with the woman.
Video surveillance footage shows that Lavely lied about his contact with the woman when he radioed in his whereabouts, court papers said.
Lavely also is under investigation by the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service for allegations that he molested a young relative while he was enlisted in the U.S. Navy, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Adam Cornell wrote in charging papers. The allegations surfaced after Lavely was arrested in connection with the Edmonds incident.
Lavely has been an officer with Edmonds since 2004. He was hired after serving 20 years in the U.S. Navy as a naval police officer.
When the allegations surfaced in May, Lavely immediately was placed on administrative leave by Edmonds, and his law enforcement authority was suspended.
Now that the criminal investigation is complete, Edmonds police will begin an internal investigation to determine Lavely’s future with the department and if any disciplinary action is warranted, Edmonds police Sgt. Mike Blackburn said Thursday.
The internal probe is expected to include a review of the criminal investigation file and the charging documents provided by the prosecutor’s office, he said.
Lavely was arrested in June following an Everett police investigation into the incident. Edmonds police officials requested that Everett detectives investigate to avoid a conflict of interest.
Lavely told Everett detectives he didn’t have sexual contact with the woman.
Investigators believe Lavely first had contact with the woman around 8 p.m. May 6. Lavely stopped the woman for jaywalking. He discovered that she had a warrant for her arrest out of King County. Lavely took the woman into custody, placing her in the back of his patrol car. Seattle police officers declined to pick the woman up so Lavely drove her to a parking lot and dropped her off, court papers said.
The woman told investigators that Lavely warned her that if he saw her on Highway 99 again he would take her to jail.
The woman then walked to the nearby Andy’s Motel where she met a friend who helped her get a room. At the motel, the woman met a father and son. The three talked for some time and the son became concerned that the woman was under the influence of illegal drugs, court papers said. He said she was making comments that led him to believe she might harm herself. The man convinced the woman to walk to a store, but he led her to the emergency room at Swedish Medical Center Edmonds. Once at the hospital, he told the staff the woman was acting crazy. They advised him to call 911. He said the woman overheard the conversation and ran from the hospital.
The man called 911 around 2:22 a.m. May 7 to report his concerns. Another Edmonds officer was dispatched to the call, but Lavely advised the dispatcher that he was familiar with the woman and he said he’d respond to the call, court papers said.
About 10 minutes later, Lavely called a dispatcher and reported that he couldn’t find the woman and indicated that he wasn’t going to take any further action and was available to respond to other calls.
The man who had taken the woman to the hospital returned to the motel and found Lavely parked there. Lavely allegedly asked the man his name. The man returned to his room and found some people he didn’t know inside. He went back outside and sought out Lavely. The officer reportedly returned to the room with the man and told the woman she needed to follow him. The woman asked if she was under arrest, Lavely reportedly said, “no,” but escorted her out of the room and walked her to his car.
Lavely reportedly put the woman in the backseat. While the door was open, she had her legs outside. She told investigators that Lavely pushed her legs inside and then they drove off. She told investigators she never heard Lavely call anyone on his radio.
The woman said she was driven to a parking lot. At first, she believed that the officer had taken her to a police station, but she soon realized they were alone. She said that Lavely ordered her out of the car and told her to place her hands on the vehicle. She said Lavely patted her down for weapons but then began fondling her.
The woman told police that Lavely then initiated sex, asking her for a condom, court papers said. She said he had sex with her with his gun belt on before driving off, according to charging papers.
The woman told investigators she then hitched a ride from a stranger who took her to a 7-Eleven store and bought her cigarettes. Video surveillance shows the woman at the store at the same time Lavely told a dispatcher he’d dropped the woman off at a transit center, about a mile away.
Investigators believe Lavely made up the call to cover his tracks.
Detectives returned to the clothing store parking lot and discovered a condom wrapper that matched others found in the woman’s purse. They also spoke with a street sweeper who identified the woman as the person he saw in the store parking lot around the time of the incident. He said he saw the woman hitching up her pants.
If convicted, Lavely would be required to register as a sex offender.