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Ex-police officer pleads guilty to extortion

"An ex-Federal Way police officer who offered to drop a theft citation against a woman if she had sex with him has pleaded guilty to second-degree extortion.Kenneth F. Erbar, 44, will be sentenced Feb. 16. Prosecutors will recommend that Erbar not be required to serve jail time but instead perform 240 hours of community service, have no contact with the victim and no longer work in law enforcement, said King County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Dan Donahoe. Erbar faced one to three months in jail for the felony charge. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop a sexual motivation allegation that would have required Erbar register as a sex offender if convicted.A felony conviction disqualifies someone from being a police officer with the Federal Way police department, said Mary McDougal, the city's human resources manager.An internal investigation conducted by the department supported the evidence that came out during the criminal investigation, said Interim Public Safety Director Tom Chaney Sr. An administrative hearing must find there is a preponderance of the evidence someone committed an offense, unlike the beyond a reasonable doubt required to convict someone criminally.The conduct was so egregious, it would merit termination, Chaney said.When presented with the department's findings from the internal investigation, Erbar chose to resign instead of be fired. He quit Oct. 5, McDougal said. He had been on paid administrative leave since his arrest on June 29.Even if prosecutors weren't seeking to prohibit Erbar's continued work in law enforcement, Erbar likely would have difficulty finding work as a police officer at other departments, Chaney said.I don't know of any agency in the country I've dealt with previously that would hire a person guilty of a misdemeanor of moral perditude or a felony of any type, he said.Erbar, who has worked in law enforcement for 21 years, was arraigned July 24. He has no criminal history. He had been assigned to the patrol division and had also been a department firearms instructor. Deputy Public Safety Director Brian Wilson rated Erbar's overall performance during his four years with the department as standard.On June 19, Erbar cited a woman for third-degree theft. She asked Erbar for advice and he said they would have to form some kind of friendship in order for him to provide advice. He suggested they meet on June 23; the woman declined.Erbar told his supervisors to close the shoplifting case and asked the city prosecutor to cancel the citation. He called the woman again on June 21 and 22, and she declined his continued requests to meet. After the call on June 22, she filed a complaint with the police department.At the department's request, the woman agreed to meet with Erbar. Officers who concealed themselves in the woman's home overheard him say he wanted to have a sexual relationship with her. She asked if he could make her case go away. He replied, Well, let's just go and see how it goes.Officers arrested him and found two condoms in his pocket. "

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