Everett will pay $25,000 to settle suit over teen’s interrogation

EVERETT — The city of Everett will pay $25,000 to settle a federal lawsuit originally filed by the parents of a 13-year-old boy who, during a two-hour police interrogation in 2005, confessed to a sexual assault.

The boy’s parents, Rev. Paul Stoot and his wife Tammie Stoot filed a lawsuit in

November 2005, claiming numerous civil rights violations. They alleged that an Everett police detective coerced “false admissions of guilty and a false confession” during the interview with their son. The Stoots sought $5.75 million.

The boy was interrogated without his parents in January 2005 after a complaint of sexual abuse. A judge threw out the alleged confession, concluding that the statement was “the product of impermissible coercion.” Another judge dismissed the charge against the boy.

A U.S. District Court judge in Seattle dismissed the Stoots’ lawsuit in 2007. The judge found that the detective was acting in the course of legitimate police business.

The Stoots appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The circuit judges upheld the majority of the 2007 decision. However, the court disagreed that the teen’s fifth amendment right against self incrimination wasn’t violated because the confession and the criminal case against him were thrown out.

The Circuit Court ruled that the coerced confession was used to file criminal charges and used in pretrial hearings. They remanded that part of the lawsuit back to the lower court.

Trial was scheduled for next month. Instead the city and the Stoots agreed to settle out of court. Neither the city nor the now-retired detective admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

The Everett City Council approved the settlement at its meeting Wednesday.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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