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Judge Morgan responds to commentary about Federal Way court
By Michael Morgan, Presiding Judge, Federal Way Municipal Court
I, like most Americans, continue to hope for a media that does not give credence to each sensational allegation that comes across their reporters' desks.
As has been reported by The Mirror, a former employee of the Federal Way Municipal Court who at the time was on probation with the court claimed I would harm my co-workers. Within a few hours of first making this allegation this same employee told her immediate supervisor I would never harm any co-worker.
The same employee also alleged that I was going to "kill" Judge David Larson, myself, and my co-workers by Dec. 5. Shortly after making these hurtful and untrue claims, the same employee asked a human resources consultant that I, the person that was supposedly going to kill her, be made her new immediate supervisor.
Other court employees were not immune from personal attacks. This former employee made other baseless allegations about all court managers and suggested that city government investigate court staff for "erratic behaviors."
The court administrator, after consulting with the city attorney, did fire this employee for a variety of reasons but not for the reasons set forth by this employee in her $500,000 claim for damages. The Mirror has never interviewed this employee or attempted to interview the court administrator or attempted to interview me before writing a story on this situation.
After the police declined to investigate these allegations, upon consultation with city officials it was decided that it would be prudent for Judge Larson to conduct an investigation. On Dec. 18, Judge Larson shared the specific findings and conclusions of his investigation with a number of city officials. Judge Larson concluded there was no credible claim of work place violence. Contrary to a recent opinion column's claim, Judge Larson was not made acting presiding judge during the relevant periods — although he did act as presiding judge when I went away on a Thanksgiving vacation and Christmas vacation.
A recent column in The Mirror ("FW court drama: You be the judge," May 20) also incorrectly claimed that I agreed to go through the judicial assistance program — no such agreement was made nor did I enter such a program. The same article claimed city government provided me outside legal counsel — no such legal counsel was sought nor provided by city government. The article also speculated about the status of a Commission on Judicial Conduct investigation — I have no reason to believe the CJC or any other agency with authority to conduct an investigation intends to conduct such an inquiry into this employee's baseless claim.
Although no one at city government suggested that a follow-up investigation was necessary, after Judge Larson concluded this employee's claim was meritless I decided to remove any doubts about this claim by taking a polygraph examination. During this examination I was asked questions about this employee's allegations and the examiner determined that my answers, in which I denied the claims made by this employee, were truthful. The examiner's report was provided to various city officials and the results of that examination have gone unreported in your publication.
Although I would have much preferred not to address personnel issues in the media, the nature of The Mirror's coverage of this issue that was addressed by the court 5 months ago and the public statements made by this employee even after she was fired has made that impractical.
I trust the public, in learning the details I have provided, will be able to reach the right conclusion.