A veteran Seattle police officer has been suspended after he was charged with molesting his former girlfriend's daughter for nearly four years, according to court filings made public Thursday.
Eric Smith, 57, was charged with child molestation and immoral communication with a child after the victim reported the abuse to a teacher, court records say.
The girl was between the ages of 7 and 11 when the abuse occurred, and she attempted to tell her mother about it, court records say. But Smith coerced her into recanting her story at least once, the court filings say.
A criminal complaint offers graphic details of the purported abuse, and suggests Smith often manipulated the girl. The victim told investigators that if Smith brought her to a "child function," he would allow her to stay longer only if she kissed a boy at the party.
Smith was arrested this week and suspended without pay Thursday, when the charges were filed, police said.
"As chief, and as a parent, I am deeply troubled by these allegations. I have immediately ordered suspension of the officer, without pay, pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings," Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole said in a statement.
Det. Renee Witt, a police spokeswoman, told the Los Angeles Times that Smith had been a police officer for 30 years. He was most recently assigned to "operations," according to Witt, who said he handled patrol duties, among other responsibilities.
According to the complaint, the victim told her mother of the abuse on three separate occasions. Smith, the victim and the victim's mother sat down and spoke the first time the girl made the complaint, and the victim recanted her complaint, according to court filings.
In recent interviews with police, the victim's mother said she believed Smith coerced the girl into rescinding her complaint, court papers show. The victim also wrote about the purported abuse in a letter to a friend who moved away from Seattle, but police did not become involved until she told a teacher after a conversation about "inappropriate touching."
Anna Clark, a paralegal with the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office, told The Times that Smith was released from custody after posting $150,000 bond. He was ordered not to have any contact with the victim, her family or any state witnesses in the case, according to Clark, who said he was also forced to surrender his passport.
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