Police: Young girl's abuse by SPD officer ignored for years

EVERETT, Wash. -- A young girl's sexual molestation at the hands of a veteran Seattle Police Department officer was ignored for years even though the victim told her mother about it -- an act for which she was punished, according to probable-cause documents filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Eric Smith, a 57-year-old Bothell resident and Seattle Police Department officer for more than 20 years, was arrested Monday on suspicion of child molestation and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

In court Tuesday, a judge ordered Smith be held on $150,000 bail -- $100,000 less than prosecutors asked for. Prosecutors said they feared Smith was a danger to the community and may try to interfere with the investigation, but the judge said Smith's clean record prior to his arrest led to the lower bail setting.

According to the probable-cause documents, Smith sexually abused the daughter of his former girlfriend multiple times between 2009 and 2013 while the victim was between the ages of 7 and 11.

An investigation into Smith was opened two weeks ago after the victim stayed late following a school health class on inappropriate touching and told her teacher about Smith's sexual abuse, according to the documents.

The investigation revealed the victim reportedly first disclosed Smith's behavior to her mother when she was 7 years old, but Smith confronted her and she recanted her claims and was punished.

Over the following years, the victim told her mother about the abuse two more times, as well as writing notes to her friends and others about it, only to be ignored, according to the probable-cause documents.

In addition to sexually abusing the victim himself, including offering to pay her, Smith reportedly tried to get the victim to have sexual encounters with boys her age while he watched.

Smith has been on administrative leave from the Seattle Police Department since the investigation was opened. Prosecutors have until Thursday evening to file charges.

Ed. Note: The article originally stated Smith had been charged when charges had not yet been filed at the time. We regret the error.