Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday because of undisclosed allegations against him that have prompted a criminal investigation, the city said.
The action was taken “due to allegations reported to the Bothell Police Department against Chief Mylett,” according to a statement posted on the city’s website Friday. The statement didn’t specify the allegations but said the “incident” occurred in Bothell more than a year ago.
“Whenever there is a criminal investigation underway involving a police department employee, it is our policy to place the employee on administrative leave,” Bellevue’s City Manager Brad Miyake said in the statement.
After learning of the allegations this week, the city of Bellevue also opened its own internal investigation of Mylett with aid from an outside agency, said Lenka Wright, a spokeswoman for the city manager’s office.
When reached by phone Friday, Mylett said that he didn’t know the nature of the allegation against him. He added he hasn’t committed any crimes or offenses, except for a few minor traffic violations.
“I don’t even know what the allegation is,” he said, “but I have faith that the Bothell Police Department will do a thorough investigation and that the truth will come out, whatever it is.”
The allegations against Mylett may be connected to a woman who has separately accused two other Bellevue police officers of criminal wrongdoing, according to King County sheriff’s investigation records released Friday.
Bellevue police Officer John Kivlin was arrested last month on assault and witness-tampering charges for allegedly attempting to coerce the woman, his girlfriend for several months, into recanting allegations that he twice punched her in the face in April.
The investigation records show Kivlin dated the woman from September to April, while both were married to other people. While the King County Sheriff’s Office looked into the woman’s domestic-violence claims against Kivlin, a detective came across text messages suggesting she also had been sexually assaulted by another Bellevue police officer, according to the records.
The woman told a sheriff’s detective during an interview in May that before dating Kivlin, she previously met a Bellevue police detective through a Craigslist ad in 2015 and later had consensual sex with him, the records say. During a second encounter with the detective, the woman said she drank too much and passed out, and she contends the detective allegedly raped her while she was unconscious, the records say.
The Sheriff’s Office this week forwarded its investigation to King County prosecutors with a second-degree rape recommendation. Prosecutors are reviewing the case, but the Bellevue detective had not been charged as of Friday, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor’s Office said.
Both Kivlin and the detective have denied wrongdoing. Kivlin resigned from the Bellevue Police Department on Thursday, while the detective has been on paid administrative leave since May 12.
Text records between Kivlin and the woman that were obtained as part of the sheriff’s investigation also suggest she told Kivlin in November 2017 that she’d also had relations with other police officers, including “your boss.” When Kivlin responded, “I have lots of bosses,” the woman eventually texted back, “The big one.”
“We met a couple of times,” the woman texted.
“Was he in uniform?” Kivlin responded.
“He’s not my type. No, never in uniform and he was super weird about it and it wasn’t until later that I put two and two together and found out who he really was.”
In the texts, the woman doesn’t mention Mylett’s name nor allege what may have occurred with him. But her text indicates that the unnamed cop was 52 — Mylett’s age at the time — and that she eventually figured out who he was by seeing “his photo in some article.”
Mylett said he knows who the woman is because of the internal investigation into Kivlin, but that he has never met her or interacted with her. He added, “I’m at a disadvantage because I don’t know what the accusations are or who is making them. I’m anxious to sit down with the Bothell Police Department and find out what this is about. I trust in the process.”
The woman’s attorney did not return a phone call seeking comment Friday. The Seattle Times does not identify victims of alleged or proven sexual abuse without their permission.
Bothell police would not elaborate on the allegations against Mylett.
“At this time, this is an active criminal investigation and to preserve the integrity of this case we are not able to release any further information,” said Capt. Mike Johnson, a spokesman for the Bothell Police Department.
Miyake said the city of Bellevue would not comment further on the matter until the internal and external investigations are complete “to ensure a fair and thorough process for everyone involved.”
“We took immediate action when we learned of the allegation,” Miyake said. “The City of Bellevue takes such allegations very seriously.”
Assistant Police Chief Patrick Arpin will be acting police chief until the matter is resolved.
Other officers in Bellevue also have faced high-profile investigations in recent months and years. In April, the department said it was investigating a veteran officer for alleged inaction while a hate crime took place.
In 2013, two members of the department’s command staff were demoted for failing to report their extramarital affair. A year earlier, three off-duty officers were thrown out of CenturyLink Field for their behavior during a Seahawks game.