Bellevue city manager Brad Miyake welcomes Steve Mylett back to his position as police chief following his exoneration. Photo courtesy of the city of Bellevue

Bellevue city manager Brad Miyake welcomes Steve Mylett back to his position as police chief following his exoneration. Photo courtesy of the city of Bellevue

Roundup: Rape Accuser Under Fire; Kent Police Bust 18 Massage Parlors

A weekly roundup of regional news

• The King County Prosecutor’s Office may pursue charges against an Issaquah woman who allegedly falsely accused Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett and other officers of sexual assault.

The 44-year-old woman made rape accusations against Mylett in August, leading Bellevue city officials to place him on paid administrative leave for two months until the claims were deemed by authorities to be unfounded. The investigation was conducted by the Bothell Police Department and found no substantial evidence that Mylett had ever been in contact with the woman.

According to the King County Sheriff’s Office, the woman has a history of finding men on Craigslist and falsely reporting her consensual sexual encounters with them as crimes. She also made assault and rape allegations against two Bellevue police officers that were dismissed in early October. Both officers resigned following the allegations.

Initially, investigators did not recommend false accusation charges be filed against the woman due to her mental state. Bothell detectives eventually forwarded multiple charges to the King County Prosecutor’s Office for review after the allegations against Mylett were dismissed.

“After careful review, there is no credible or reliable evidence that the accuser was the victim of a sexual assault by Chief Mylett, or the two ever had any contact of the nature described,” according to a statement from the King County Prosecutor’s Office. “Furthermore, the investigation appears to have uncovered evidence that the accuser may have fabricated evidence in this case. We will continue to work with Bothell Police Department to further examine that potential crime.” Bellevue Reporter

• Entering the shortest enrollment period for insurance since the Affordable Care Act debuted in 2013, Renton has large numbers of adults uninsured compared to the rest of King County.

According to county data, Renton had 24 percent of adults uninsured in 2013, and since then, the number dropped to as low as 6 percent in 2016. But in 2017, it suddenly doubled to 12 percent.

“We got some data just from last month that said the uninsured rate in Renton went from 6 percent overall to 12 percent, and that has not happened in every other city in King County,” Keith Seinfeld from Public Health King County said. “So it’s like, wait a second, what’s going on in Renton?”

Although they can only speculate now why the increase happened, Pie and Seinfeld said anecdotes from those who come enroll, and future data, might be able to point to what caused the uninsured rates to double. — Renton Reporter

• Kent police closed 18 illegal massage parlors. The businesses are being shuttered due to allegedly violating city and state licensing laws and serving as fronts for prostitution.

The city has also charged, or is considering filing charges, against massage parlor owners and employees for crimes related to licensing violations and prostitution, according to the Kent Police Department.

During a several-months investigation conducted by Kent police, it was discovered that while many of these businesses advertise themselves as massage parlors, their real purpose is to facilitate prostitution. In addition, these businesses utilize employees who are not licensed by the state, fail to follow regulations to protect the health and privacy of patrons, and fail to properly post licenses, according to police.

“It is no secret to individuals willing to pay for sex that unlicensed massage parlors are a place they can go for this activity,” Kent Police Cmdr. Rob Scholl said.

Scholl said there are legitimate massage parlor businesses as well. “There are a number of properly licensed and operated massage businesses that provide a great service to the community,” he said. “The illegal businesses that we are targeting give legitimate massage businesses a bad name.”

The city also plans to crack down on any people who patronize the targeted businesses and engage in acts of prostitution at the parlors. The Kent Police Department is considering conducting a sting to encourage patrons to stay away. — Kent Reporter

• A shelter for women and families with children experiencing homelessness will soon open in Kirkland.

In early October, the King County Department of Community and Human Services, Housing and Community Development approved a loan of up to $2 million to build a shelter in Kirkland that will provide 50 beds for families with children and 48 beds for women. The shelter, 11920 NE 80th St., will be the only facility on the Eastside to serve women and families exclusively. It will also operate as a “low-barrier access” shelter and case management will be provided by CSS and The Sophia Way.

In addition to funds for capital construction costs from the county, the shelter will receive money from the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy of $500,000 per year, up to a maximum of $2.5 million over the next five years.

The shelter will also receive financial support from the city of Kirkland ($1.15 million), A Regional Coalition for Housing ($1.224 million) the state of Washington ($2.35 million) and other Eastside cities ($200,000). — Kirkland Reporter

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