Two years sought for ex-deputy

By Scott North

Herald Writer

A special prosecutor wants a former Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy to serve two years in prison after being convicted of raping a drunken 17-year-old girl while on duty.

Chuck Adams, 35, deserves exceptional punishment in part because his crime hurt the community, special deputy prosecutor Scott O’Toole said in Superior Court papers filed early this week in advance of Adams’ sentencing, now scheduled for June 15.

"Throughout the assault, the defendant was in uniform, armed and wearing a badge," O’Toole wrote. "Simply put, the defendant’s abuse of his position of trust as a police officer will have a chilling effect on the community at large and on the ability of other officers to perform their duties in an effective and professional manner."

Adams was convicted of third-degree rape after admitting that he had sex in November 1999 with a young woman he took to an isolated police substation at Paine Field after a traffic mishap.

Adams testified that the teen-ager initiated the sex and that the contact was consensual. The girl, now 18, said she was forced.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Gerald Knight, in an often tartly-worded ruling, found Adams guilty and said he found the teen’s version of what occurred more believable.

This is Adams’ first brush with the law. State guidelines recommend somebody with his criminal history serve six months to a year in jail.

The former deputy’s attorney, John Henry Browne of Seattle, said his client already has suffered considerably.

"The biggest punishment to my client is losing his career," Browne said. "It is even more of a punishment in his case because he comes from a law enforcement family, it is a tradition" and Adams is barred from doing what he loves.

O’Toole is a King County deputy prosecutor who was assigned to handle the case after Snohomish County prosecutors bowed out to avoid a potential conflict in interest.

Adams was a six-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. He was fired about a year ago, shortly after being charged.

The allegations against him began with 911 calls the girl began placing immediately after Adams let her out of his patrol car.

The defense had to fight the allegations against Adams on two fronts, largely because prosecutors had filed the case under alternate theories. In addition to the rape charge, Adams was charged with first-degree custodial sexual misconduct. Under state law, it is illegal for a police or corrections officer to have even consensual sex with somebody in their custody.

Knight acquitted Adams of the sexual misconduct charge, ruling there was evidence that the girl never asked to be let out of the car.

Genetic tests and Adams’ testimony left no doubt the former deputy had sex with the young woman. The key issues revolved around whether she was being detained by Adams and if the sex was without her consent.

At trial, Adams admitted that he’d had sexual contact on duty about six years ago with another teen, whom he’d met through a high school mentoring program.

You can call Herald Writer Scott North at 425-339-3431

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