Fired county official may face charges after alleged indecent exposure

  • Thu Feb 25th, 2010 6:05pm
  • News

By Scott North Herald Writer

EVERETT — Snohomish County’s former planning director Craig Ladiser, quietly fired last year after drunkenly exposing himself to a woman who works as a building industry lobbyist, may face criminal charges over the June 24 incident.

King County prosecutors have since Jan. 8 been considering the results of a King County Sheriff’s Office investigation into what Ladiser did that day at the Golf Club at Redmond Ridge.

“It is under review. We haven’t made a decision yet in regards to a charge,” King County prosecutor’s spokesman Dan Donohoe said Friday.

Police began investigating Oct. 26, after the woman reported what had happened with Ladiser four months earlier. The case was investigated as potential indecent exposure and fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation, King County sheriff’s Sgt. John Urquhart said.

The woman has alleged that Ladiser didn’t just expose his penis while on the golf course, but also rubbed it against her.

A King County judge in September ruled that there was sufficient evidence to grant the woman a sexual assault protection order.

As a result, Ladiser, 59, has been ordered to have no contact with the woman and to stay at least 200 feet away from her home and workplace.

During the protection order hearing, the woman offered “concrete, detailed testimony” about the physical contact that she experienced with Ladiser on the golf course, her attorney, Beth Terrell, said Friday.

After Ladiser accosted her on the green, the woman testified she felt compelled to check whether she needed to clean off her pants, Terrell said.

Ladiser denied assaulting the woman.

“While Mr. Ladiser will concede that he was intoxicated and that his exposure of himself to (the woman) was inappropriate, we do not believe it can be established that he did so in order to arouse himself or to obtain sexual gratification,” his attorney, Kelby Fletcher, said in court papers filed before the September hearing.

Through his lawyer, Ladiser also contended that a civil attorney’s investigation, conducted at Snohomish County’s request, had “concluded that Mr. Ladiser did not touch” the woman.

That investigation was handled by Linda Walton from the Seattle law firm Perkins Coie. She charged $12,000 last summer to act as a special deputy prosecutor to examine Ladiser’s conduct during the golf tournament, which was hosted by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties.

Ladiser was fired the day after Walton filed her report. She wrote that Ladiser wasn’t credible in some of his statements, that he’d been drinking heavily and claimed to have little recollection of what happened after reaching for a bottle of tequila that had tipped over in his golf cart. Walton rated the credibility of other witnesses, too, and decided that a man who didn’t know either Ladiser or the woman prior to that day provided the most reliable description of events.

“I cannot conclude based upon the witness statements” that Ladiser had sexual contact with the woman, Walton wrote.

The witnesses were consistent, however, that the exposure was deliberate, she wrote. Ladiser reportedly exposed his genitals while people were joking about the golf tees they were using.

County Executive Aaron Reardon at the start of his first term, in January 2004, hired Ladiser as the county’s director of Planning and Development Services. Ladiser was paid close to $150,000 a year.

Herald Writer Jackson Holtz contributed to this report.

Scott North: 425-339-3431,