The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission offers training for law enforcement and other public safety professionals in Washington. In the lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court, Kaitlyn Ricksecker accused her former supervisor Richard Klein of groping and making inappropriate comments to her and other female cadets in their Basic Law Enforcement Academy class in Burien in 2022. (Photo provided by Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, Federal Way Mirror)

The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission offers training for law enforcement and other public safety professionals in Washington. In the lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court, Kaitlyn Ricksecker accused her former supervisor Richard Klein of groping and making inappropriate comments to her and other female cadets in their Basic Law Enforcement Academy class in Burien in 2022. (Photo provided by Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, Federal Way Mirror)

Everett officer alleges sexual harassment at state police academy

In a second lawsuit since October, a former cadet alleges her instructor sexually touched her during instruction.

EVERETT — An instructor at the state police academy inappropriately touched an Everett police officer multiple times in front of colleagues, she alleged last month in the second sexual harassment lawsuit against the academy in a year.

In the lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court, Kaitlyn Ricksecker accused her former supervisor Richard Klein of groping and making inappropriate comments to her and other female cadets in their Basic Law Enforcement Academy class in Burien in 2022.

The complaint alleges the police academy “maintained and perpetuated a workplace culture deeply ingrained with sexism and sexual harassment.”

The Criminal Justice Training Commission certifies and runs the academy for all law enforcement officers in the state.

This is the second lawsuit Ricksecker’s attorneys have filed against the training facility. In October, a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy and a Port Orchard officer alleged their instructor, former Port of Seattle officer Leland Allen, sexually harassed six female cadets in their class.

“Unfortunately, we do believe this is a pervasive problem,” attorney Debora Silberman said Monday. “This case is more than just about the allegations that we brought to light with these three women. It’s about securing a safe and equitable training environment for future women who want to come and serve their communities.”

Klein worked in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for 22 years before transferring to Federal Way in 2018, the Federal Way Mirror reported.

On Monday, Federal Way city spokesperson David Solano confirmed Klein was still on the force. In an email, Solano wrote that the city “fully supports and stands by Officer Klein.”

“Officer Klein was at the academy to teach recruits, and he did so in accordance with his training and experience,” the statement read. “While we will not litigate this case in the newspaper, we stand by Officer Klein 100 percent.”

Klein and Allen may face decertification, The Seattle Times reported Thursday. A spokesperson for the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission did not immediately return a Daily Herald reporter’s phone call Monday.

From August to November 2022, Klein served as Ricksecker’s supervising instructor in the 19-week program, the complaint read. On a regular basis, Klein would call the plaintiff “Ricksucker.”

During instruction, Klein reportedly grabbed the plaintiff’s buttocks, demonstrating how he would search a sex worker.

On multiple occasions, Klein ran a baton across Ricksecker’s breasts in front of other cadets, according to the lawsuit. During a training exercise, Ricksecker played a suspect driving a car. Klein demanded she get out of the car and turn around.

“Now that’s an ass,” he reportedly said in front of the cadets with the baton on her buttocks.

He then “repeated his actions” with another female cadet, according to the lawsuit.

Ricksecker reported Klein to his supervisors hours after this incident, the complaint read. He was placed “under review,” Silberman said. It was unclear if Klein continued to train cadets.

Court records did not indicate if Klein had an attorney.

Ricksecker was sworn in as an Everett officer in December 2022.

“It was not only shocking in that moment, it continues to be shocking today,” Silberman said. “These women reported knowing they were going into a male-dominated field that continues to operate from this top-down structure.”

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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