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Federal Way cop resigns over alleged sexual misconduct
A Federal Way police officer has resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct, which included sending lewd photos and text messages to a crime victim.
Officer Ashley Crispin submitted his resignation June 24, just one day after being placed on paid administrative leave. The resignation in lieu of termination became official July 8.
On Tuesday, The Mirror obtained results of an internal investigation by the Federal Way Police Department into the sexual misconduct charges. The department also released results of a separate investigation over a violent arrest in which Crispin punched a woman. The latter report concluded that Crispin's use of force was justified.
In April, the department received a tip about Crispin from a Lynnwood police recruit. A woman who worked as a housekeeper for a hotel in Seatac had confided in the recruit that a Federal Way police officer was making unwanted sexual advances toward her. The woman said the officer was also sending sexual photos and videos.
The 33-year-old woman first met Crispin on April 10, when the officer arrested a trespasser who broke into her mother's Federal Way house.
After the encounter, Crispin began calling the woman, at first to let her know he was checking on the property. The woman, who asked that her name be withheld, told The Mirror that Crispin began talking about how he and his wife were having problems, then at one point, asked if they could get together for sex on his days off.
According to phone records obtained by The Mirror, Crispin called the woman 15 times between April 16 and April 21 from his personal cellphone. Crispin declined to comment for this story.
When confronted by his supervisor in April, Crispin denied the allegations. Crispin contacted the woman and encouraged her to delete all the pictures and to not cooperate with the investigation, according to documents. The woman did not cooperate, and the case was closed in May.
However, the investigation was reopened in June when Crispin said he received a harassing phone call from the woman. This time, the woman cooperated with the investigation.
Police recovered deleted images from the woman's cellphone. One photo of a man lying on a bed — and wearing only underpants — was identified as one of the photos sent by Crispin. The woman said she received text messages from Crispin that included photos of a man's penis and a video of a man masturbating. One photo showed Crispin in his police uniform, sitting in his police car, according to documents.
The woman, who showed the photos to her friends, told police she and Crispin never got together. She also admitted to reciprocating at one point by texting him a nude photo of herself.
According to documents, Crispin declined to participate in any interviews for the investigation. "That requires us to accept as true the assertions made by (the victim) and other witnesses," according to a report by Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter, who was Crispin's supervisor.
The department's investigation, along with Crispin's personnel files, also reveal that:
• Two other victims were identified as receiving inappropriate contact from Crispin. One woman was a local apartment complex manager, with whom Crispin was reportedly flirtatious and trying to coax into going on a ride-along. During the misconduct investigation, another victim came forward. In this case, the police department has launched a criminal investigation of official misconduct with sexual motivation, according to documents. The victim is a woman whom Crispin arrested.
• Crispin was suspended for 40 hours without pay in 2009 for pursuing sex with a Federal Way Police Explorer. The Explorers is a program for young adults interested in law enforcement careers. Intimate relationships between officers and Explorers are not allowed. According to personnel files, Crispin tried to arrange — via text messages — a "three-way" sexual rendezvous with the Explorer and a "buddy." Crispin and the married Explorer went on ride-alongs together and engaged in frank discussions about their personal lives, according to the report.
• Crispin received a 40-hour suspension in 2011 for being the at-fault driver in a collision on SW Dash Point Road in Dec. 2010.
• Crispin received a 20-hour suspension in 2007 for his involvement in a collision while pursuing a fight call. According to documents, Crispin failed to use his siren and make sure the intersection was clear before proceeding.
In a written statement, Chief Brian Wilson said: "The sustained misconduct of Mr. Crispin does not represent the professionalism, character and integrity of the men and women of the Federal Way Police Department. ... We are responsible and accountable to our citizens, our police department, and the law enforcement profession."
Wilson also recommended that Crispin be decertified as a commissioned police officer in Washington state.
(Pictured: This photo shows Megan Graham after her release from jail in May)
Crispin's use of force during a violent arrest on May 27 in Federal Way attracted widespread media attention.
The Port of Seattle investigated the case and concluded that "the use of force in this incident was reasonable and, in fact, one of the least intrusive of the multiple force options available to the officers."
Crispin had punched Kirkland resident Megan Graham in the face after she resisted arrest in a Federal Way apartment complex parking lot. An audio recording of the incident was captured after Graham dialed 911 during the arrest.
Crispin had arrived for backup after another officer attempted to arrest Graham, who was initially pulled over for talking on her cellphone while driving. According to the Federal Way police report, Graham was resisting arrest and ignoring police commands before she assumed a fighting stance. "Crispin then responded with closed fist strikes to Graham's face, which brought her to the ground where she was handcuffed," the report said.
Post-arrest photos show Graham with a swollen eye and a bruise that takes up the left side of her face. She has pleaded not guilty to felony assault of an officer, and she is currently fighting her case in court.
The Port of Seattle report noted: "As a result of Officer Crispin using closed fist strikes on Ms. Graham, the officers were able to end the encounter before anyone was more seriously injured and without having to escalate to a higher level of force."
In an administrative review, the Federal Way Police Department concluded that "other tactics may have been more effective and/or less intrusive to affect the arrest," and that "future defensive tactics training … will emphasize lessons learned from this incident." The department's "use of force policy" will remain as written.
Career in Federal Way
Crispin began working as a Federal Way police officer in January 2006. According to personnel files, Crispin had a promising career in Federal Way.
In May, Crispin was honored after responding to a robbery call in which the female victim received a severe laceration. Crispin's application of a tourniquet saved her life, according to Federal Way police.
In 2011, he received a SPIRIT Award (Service, Pride, Integrity, Responsibility, Innovation and Teamwork) from Mayor Skip Priest. The nomination came from Crispin's supervisor at the time. The nomination stated that Crispin was the department's "go-to guy when a search warrant needs to be written," and that he was "one of the hardest working officers in our department."
A 2009 performance review said Crispin was "a dedicated member of the team" and "the most proactive officer" on his shift. Evaluations in his personnel file noted that either met or exceeded expectations in every category.
Crispin has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Central Washington University. In his time at the Federal Way Police Department, he earned steady pay raises, eventually reaching a monthly salary of $6,157, or nearly $74,000 a year.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story included a photo that The Mirror has chosen to no longer publish.