Prosecutor’s internal report alleges drunkenness and groping

A deputy prosecutor, later fired, said he blacked out at a post-conference party in Chelan last month.

EVERETT — A Snohomish County deputy prosecutor was accused of groping a female co-worker at a party in Chelan, according to new records released Friday, two weeks after he was fired.

Chris Dickinson, 55, is the subject of multiple criminal investigations by the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office. He was in Eastern Washington last month for a Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys’ conference.

A group of Snohomish County deputy prosecutors met up for after-dinner drinks June 20. They gathered in a hotel room with a patio overlooking Lake Chelan, records show. A female prosecutor said she was moving a footstool when Dickinson grabbed her breast and tried to pull her onto his lap.

Investigators said at least one other person reported seeing that happen, while others said they heard about it later.

More people in the room became uncomfortable when Dickinson’s girlfriend, a county probation counselor, passed out with her breasts bared. Some wondered if Dickinson exposed her. She later told county investigators she’d been having trouble with a button on her sundress.

New details about that night emerged Friday in a 77-page internal investigation by the county. The Daily Herald obtained a copy of the document through a public records request. The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office has not provided additional information, despite repeated inquiries from the newspaper.

Also on Friday, Snohomish County’s elected prosecutor, Mark Roe, said he has ordered mandatory sexual harassment training for his staff. Among other complaints, Dickinson apparently tricked a co-worker into viewing an explicit photo in the office.

Roe reprimanded one other deputy prosecutor for his actions that night and admonished others for not taking quicker, more decisive steps to intervene.

“I admonished several other people who were there that night,” Roe said. “I had them in my office. I told them that I expected more … If you see anything, even it it is something you are not directly involved with, you need to report it.”

The records show Dickinson and his girlfriend were asked to leave the party around midnight.

The next morning, his co-workers noted he was missing from the conference. Dickinson later told someone he took the day off for rest and relaxation.

In reality, he was in jail.

He and his girlfriend, 36, had taken a boat to the resort to attend the party. Within an hour of leaving, they were contacted by police concerning their conduct on the water. That incident led to the girlfriend being detained. When Dickinson went to pick her up from the police station, he was arrested. That court case is pending.

Roe reviewed the internal investigation and found the allegations of misconduct were substantiated. He fired Dickinson July 3. Dickinson claimed he blacked out and didn’t remember that night. Roe wrote in the four-page termination letter that he did not find the statements credible, in part due to contradicting details.

Deputy prosecutor Kirk Mahjoubian was disciplined as well. He took two photos inside the hotel room, capturing the unconscious woman’s partial nudity. He later insisted he was trying to document Dickinson’s behavior.

Roe determined the pictures were taken in poor judgment. Mahjoubian received a letter of reprimand on July 6.

The disciplinary letters were included in the documents released Friday, along with statements from 16 potential witnesses, most of them prosecutors.

Dickinson never notified his bosses of his arrest. They learned about it nearly a week later when they got a call from Chelan County. Arrest reports were released earlier this month.

Dickinson’s conduct toward the Chelan County sheriff’s deputies was another issue.

“You … attempted to use your position as a Snohomish County prosecutor to intimidate or influence law enforcement,” Roe wrote.

The deputies said they found Dickinson in a stolen kayak on Lake Chelan. His girlfriend was driving a motorboat nearby. Her dress was still in disarray. Dickinson announced to police that he was a deputy prosecutor, according to the reports.

The girlfriend was taken into custody, and a blood-alcohol test reportedly showed her at 0.26, more than three times the legal limit to operate a vessel. Two hours later, one of the same deputies said he found Dickinson outside the police station in Chelan.

Dickinson was sitting in the driver’s seat of a Chevrolet Equinox with the keys in the ignition, according to the reports. Around 3 a.m., Dickinson’s blood-alcohol level allegedly was 0.15. The legal limit to drive is 0.08. Dickinson was arrested for investigation of being intoxicated while in control of a vehicle.

The county’s review included a report that Dickinson had been inappropriate toward another female co-worker in May. She said Dickinson came into her office and said he wanted to show her a picture of his boat. He didn’t have any work-related reason to visit her, she said.

When he handed over his phone, the screensaver photo was of his girlfriend in a sexually provocative pose, partially nude. The co-worker questioned Dickinson about his decision to display the image on a screen that others might see. Then she turned away, ending the conversation.

“The circumstances suggest that the boat was just a ruse to be able to show off his picture,” the investigation found.

The girlfriend later told the county she was not aware that Dickinson was showing the image to his colleagues, and she would not have given permission.

Dickinson worked in the prosecutor’s office for more than 20 years. His annual salary was about $149,000.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rikkiking.

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