Everett official faces hearing over allegations

EVERETT — Everett City Councilman Mark Olson is facing additional legal trouble connected to an ongoing criminal investigation into allegations he sexually assaulted a woman in June after an evening of drinking.

Olson, 52, has been ordered to appear at a Sept. 11 hearing in Cascade District Court in Arlington. The hearing will explore whether Olson has violated an agreement that enabled him to seek treatment in lieu of prosecution after a 2003 drunken driving arrest, court papers show.

Olson still has more than a year remaining on a five-year period of court supervision in the drunken driving case. The September hearing will focus on whether Olson’s drinking with the woman violated the agreement, Cascade District Court Judge Jay Wisman said Friday.

The hearing, sought by a probation supervisor, should clarify whether Olson has complied with all conditions of the agreement.

“It is our position, obviously, that he has not violated the terms and conditions of his probation and his deferred prosecution. And now we are seeking a clarification from the court,” Olson’s attorney, S. Daniel Campbell of Everett, said Friday.

Olson believed he was allowed to resume drinking about two years ago so long as he did so responsibly, Campbell said. He will abstain if the court orders it, the lawyer added.

Violations of a deferred prosecution can lead to jail time and other sanctions.

Meanwhile, the Washington State Patrol expects to finish its investigation into a rape allegation sometime next week. Investigators are trying to determine if the sex was consensual or if a crime occurred.

The investigation has been under way since late June, when state detectives searched Olson’s downtown Everett law office, looking for evidence of second-degree rape, court documents show. A woman told Everett police she believed she had been sexually assaulted by Olson in his office the night before.

Olson and the woman had spent the evening with other friends at restaurants in Everett. She told detectives she had four drinks that night and felt very intoxicated, according to a sworn search warrant affidavit.

The woman recalled being at Olson’s office at one point, and woke the next morning with bruises and other reasons to believe that sexual activity had occurred, documents said. She told investigators she had no memory of consenting to a sexual encounter, and believed she was too impaired to provide consent, according to court papers.

Everett police requested that the State Patrol investigate the allegations to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

State Patrol detective Jeff Rhue said Friday he expects next week to forward the results of his investigation to Skagit County prosecutors.

“For the most part the case is complete, and my goal is to have it to the prosecutor soon,” Rhue said.

Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney Rich Weyrich said his office has agreed to handle the case because Snohomish County prosecutors wanted to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

Olson’s 2003 drunken driving case was handled by Snohomish County prosecutors. It stemmed from an incident four years ago on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. Olson was pulled over after he nearly hit a tribal police officer who had stopped another vehicle. A test allegedly showed Olson’s blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit.

Olson has been on the City Council since 2001. His current term ends in 2009.

Reporter Scott North: 425-339-3431 or north@heraldnet.com.

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