Longtime Federal Way High School basketball coach Jerome Collins reacts during the team’s 2016 state championship game. File photo

Longtime Federal Way High School basketball coach Jerome Collins reacts during the team’s 2016 state championship game. File photo

Bellevue Cop Cleared of Charges; Federal Way Coach Accused for Voyeurism Coverup

A weekly roundup of regional news

• Prosecutors have dismissed multiple charges against a former Bellevue police officer after investigators allegedly found evidence that undermined the accuser’s credibility.

Former officer John Kivlin was arrested back in July on charges of assault and witness tampering. An Issaquah woman, who had dated Kivlin in an extramarital affair from Sept. 2017 to April 2018, alleged that he punched her twice, later violated a protection order, and attempted to coerce her into recanting an assault allegation.

However, Kivlin was released on Oct. 5 after the chargers were dropped. The accuser, according to an investigation conducted by the King County Sheriff’s Office, has a history of engaging men on Craigslist and falsely reporting consensual encounters as a crime and even rape, The Seattle Times reported. According to the report, investigators are not recommending that the woman be charged with false reporting.

Before seeing Kivlin, the woman also claimed that a Bellevue police detective that she dated had raped her when she was passed out after drinking. Prosecutors have decided not to pursue charges in this case as well, considering the investigation’s findings.

The same woman was also behind the rape allegation made against Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett. Mylett, who had been on paid administrative leave since August, was exonerated on Oct. 22 by a Bothell Police Department investigation into acusations and will be reenstated immediately. — Bellevue Reporter

• The Federal Way Police Department has reopened a criminal investigation into a 2016 voyeurism case involving Federal Way High School’s head basketball coach Jerome Collins after a former student filed a lawsuit against the school district.

The former Federal Way High School student, Tally Thomas, 19, filed a tort claim against the district on Oct. 15 for $3.5 million. Thomas claims that she was that she was unknowingly videotaped performing oral sex on an unnamed basketball player during her sophomore year of high school and that several students viewed the recording. Additionally, she claims that Collins was aware of the incident, watched the video in question, and failed to report the matter to authorities.

Thomas then started getting bullied at school over the videotape and told her parents, who informed Collins of the situation. In response, a meeting was held which included Thomas, the two basketball players involved, and Collins. During the meeting, Collins allegedly discouraged Thomas from reporting the incident due to the potential consequences that the basketball players would face if word got out.

Federal Way police were eventually notified of the alleged voyeurism incident back in 2016. Detectives were unable to establish probable cause to support either allegation and the case was closed, according to a statement from the department.

Collins has also faced numerous allegations of sexual misconduct in the 1990s. A Federal Way school district investigation was launched in 1994 after two former students accused him of sexual harassment. The investigation’s findings were inconclusive, according to a letter from a former superintendent to Collins. The letter acknowledged that Collins had committed behavior that amounts to sexual harassment, but characterized them as episodes of “poor judgment.”

“This poor judgment has been displayed in slapping female students on the buttocks and inappropriate joking with female students,” the letter states. “The inappropriate joking refers to the necklace incident of which you are familiar and also inappropriate remarks whispered to a third student. You are hereby formally reprimanded for this conduct. A copy of this reprimand will be placed in your personnel file. You should understand that any further incidents of this nature will lead to more severe disciplinary action. The maintenance of proper boundaries of behavior between teachers and students is extremely important to teacher and student alike.”

The district instructed him to obtain training for this incident by June 1995 to help him “more clearly establish proper boundaries for your relationships and interactions with female students.”

In addition, a student filed a complaint against the coach in 1999 that stated he “constantly asked her to kiss him, said he wanted to see her naked, rubbed her stomach and kissed her,” according to The Seattle Times. While a human resources lawyer for the school district found the accusations credible at the time, Collins was never fired and was not punished.

Collins has been the Federal Way boys basketball coach for more than 30 years, bringing home three state championships during his time. He was inducted into the Federal Way Hall of Fame in 2016. — Federal Way Mirror

• Kent police officers and city jail correctional officers used force to detain 487 people in 2017, an 18 percent increase from 2016, according to an internal report presented Oct. 10 to the Kent City Council.

The majority of the use-of-force incidents involved police officers — 401 to be exact, which is up 16 percent from the previous year. Police officers also used firearms six times in four of those incidents. Correctional officers were involved in the other 86 incidents, a 30 percent increase over 2016.

“We have a high volume of inmates with mental health issues or substance abuse — up to 60 percent of them at one time,” Police Chief Rafael Padilla said about the increase in jail incidents during a Oct. 10 presentation to the council’s Public Safety Committee.

Padilla said one reason behind the increase is because internal trainings have emphasized team tactics for detaining people, meaning that if three officers respond to an incident and use force to handcuff someone, that would count as three uses of force.

“We average 90,000 calls for service (per year), so 487 is less than one-half of 1 percent,” Padilla said. “It’s still a very small amount of use of force.”

In the internal report, officers note that force was used on 246 subjects that were impaired — or half of the incidents. Seventy-seven were impaired by alcohol, 83 by drugs, and 86 had some form of mental illness.

A total of 77 officers logged injuries as a result of a use of force, according to the report, up 20 percent from the previous year. Correctional officers reported experiencing a 27 percent increase in injuries among their staff, while patrol officers documented a similar 20 percent increase.

“We are looking at whether we need to adjust some of our training,” Padilla said. “Most (injuries) are when we use counter joints — grab and manipulate a joint for compliance. We are still not sure why injuries are up, so we will be looking at that (in more detail).” — Kent Reporter


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