A Seattle police officer accused of repeatedly groping his colleagues in the department’s training unit now faces assault charges.
King County prosecutors say John Knight accosted two women and a man during a protracted series of assaults. Knight, 51, has been charged with fourth-degree assault in purported attacks on three Seattle Police Department workers, including two officers.
Knight was suspended without pay after charges were filed. According to a police statement, Knight, a 26-year veteran of the department, previously faced allegations of workplace misconduct as early as 2009.
Knight was also one of two officers named in a 2006 lawsuit by Langston Gossett, who is the son of then-King County Council Chairman Larry Gossett. Langston Gossett, then 25, accused Knight and his partner of negligence and civil rights violations after Knight mistook him for a car prowler while Gossett stood on his family’s porch.
The lawsuit, which was dismissed following an out-of-court settlement with the city, alleged that the officers detained Gossett and painfully frisked him. The officers released Gossett when a witness explained that they had the wrong man.
Writing the court in charging papers filed Thursday, a Seattle Police Department sex crimes detective said three of Knight’s coworkers raised concerns in August while Knight was serving as a field training officer.
Knight is alleged to have groped one officer’s breasts and behind repeatedly. According to charging papers, the woman told investigators Knight would force his hand down her shirt and grab her, and that he would “persist longer” if she resisted.
“You know if you just let me do it, it would get over with more quickly,” Knight told her, according to her account.
The longtime officer said she was afraid to report the sexual misconduct, according to charging papers. Knight, she said, had power in the department and she was afraid she would lose her position.
Knight is also accused of groping a civilian worker assigned to the training unit. The woman told investigators Knight often made inappropriate comments to her before the groping began; according to charging papers, she said Knight groped her behind about 40 times.
Again, Knight is alleged to have told the woman not to resist him.
“If you let it happen it will be over soon,” Knight told the woman, according to charging papers.
Writing the court, the detective investigating Knight said a third officer reported that Knight groped him as well on four occasions. The officer told investigators he once heard Knight make a particularly concerning statement.
“What can I say,” Knight is alleged to have remarked to himself, “I’m a predator.”
According to charging papers, Knight declined to speak with investigators when confronted Sept. 23. He is not jailed and is expected to appear in King County Superior Court on Oct. 20 for arraignment.
Knight has been charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation, as well as a single count without the aggravating factor. He faces up to a year in jail if convicted on those counts, which are gross misdemeanors.