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Police officer heads to court

Federal Way police officer Terry Wilson appeared in court Friday, Sept. 14, for a hearing following a mix-up in legal paperwork.

Wilson, 48, had planned to enter by mail his plea of “not guilty” to charges of communication with a minor for immoral purposes and assault in the fourth degree.

Documents, including Wilson’s plea, were due the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Federal Way Municipal Court. Mistakenly, the paperwork was received by the prosecuting attorney in the case, but a copy had not arrived at the court by this date, Wilson’s attorney Clifford Morey said.

After being informed of the oversight, Morey personally delivered the documents to the court, he said. Technically, Wilson’s plea of not guilty was entered Tuesday afternoon, Morey said.

“We’ve made a small mistake and we’ve corrected it,” Morey said.

On June 2, officer Wilson was accused of inappropriate touching and remarks toward a 17-year-old female student at Federal Way High School, 30611 16th Ave. S., where Wilson served as a school resource officer for the past four years. Gross misdemeanor charges were filed against Wilson on Aug. 30. With this hearing behind him, Morey can now begin working on a defense against the allegations Wilson faces, he said.

Allegations:

On two occasions, Wilson allegedly told the student he had a dream about her, with one of the dreams being of a sexual nature, according to court documents. The student also reported that Wilson allegedly made multiple comments about how he was anxious for her to be “legal,” interpreted by the student as a reference to turning 18, according to court documents.

Wilson allegedly touched or rubbed the student’s legs, commenting on how “smooth” or “nice” they were on five separate occasions, and also touched her breast on one occasion, according to court documents.

On June 1, Wilson and the student both attended a dining event. Afterward, Wilson requested the student accompany him to his office, according to court documents. In transition to his office, Wilson allegedly told the student he was sexually aroused and upon arrival at their destination, he allegedly touch the student’s right breast over her clothing, according to court documents.

On June 4, the student told Wilson the inappropriate touching could not continue, in which Wilson allegedly agreed, saying he did not want to lose his family or job, according to court documents.

Reprimands:

The student’s allegations came to police attention on June 2, after the student confided in a police officer who attended her church.

Subsequent conversations with the student followed before the officer reported the allegations to her superiors on June 8, according to court documents.

This prompted Police Chief Brian Wilson, of no relation, to put officer Terry Wilson on administrative leave and request an outside agency, Renton Police Department, to immediately investigate the allegations.

The request for an outside investigation of misconduct allegations against officers is not an uncommon practice among King County police departments, Chief Wilson said.

In conclusion of this investigation, the case was turned over to Auburn City Attorney Dan Heid, who in this case is the special prosecuting attorney for Federal Way. Heid filed gross misdemeanor charges against officer Terry Wilson for communication with a minor for immoral purposes and assault in the fourth degree. Both charges are punishable by one year in jail and a $5,000 fine, according to court documents.

Officer Terry Wilson:

Prior to these allegations, officer Terry Wilson had no history of discipline issues or complaints against him in the five years he served on the city’s police force, Chief Wilson said. The student stated officer Wilson never intimidated or threatened her, nor did he use his position as a school resource officer to make her do anything she did not want to do, according to court documents.

At Federal Way High School, Wilson was known among the students, principal Lisa Griebel said. He performed his job well, keeping the students safe and preventing crime and violence by maintaining a high level of visibility and gaining the students’ respect, she said.

“He did an amazing job to make sure we had a safe and secure environment,” Griebel said.

During the four years officer Wilson served as a school resource officer at Federal Way High School, he was an active participant in the school’s activities, Griebel said.

As part of his job, he often attended sports games hosted by Federal Way High School, she said. He organized bowling and pickleball tournaments for the high school’s staff, and assisted the staff in maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise and diet, Griebel said.

When his shift was over, he would sometimes supervise the school’s weight room, she said. In 2006, he also volunteered at a community forum, providing unpaid training on how to prevent gang violence at the city’s high schools, Griebel said.

Another school resource officer has since replaced Wilson at Federal Way High School. The school’s top priority is to ensure its students’ safety, Griebel said.

“We trust the investigation and proceeding court hearing (for officer Wilson) will be fair and just,” she said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

The Federal Way Police Department began an internal investigation of the allegations against officer Terry Wilson on Aug. 31, Chief Brian Wilson said. The procedure is expected to to conclude by the end of September, he said. At this time, whether officer Wilson will remain an employee of the Federal Way Police Department will be determined. Terry Wilson is on administrative leave until this decision is made, Chief Wilson said. The police department is performing a thorough review of the allegations, he said.

Check out The Mirror’s Web site for updates at www.fedwaymirror.com.

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