An abuse of power should be against the law | Editorial

We are in disbelief that a detective who had sex with a victim will not face any criminal charges.

Although San Juan County Detective Stephen Parker and the victim have both stated in an independent investigation that they had sexual relations, the problem is that the sexual relationship is not against the law. Relations with a victim is against the internal conduct code for police officers, but it is not illegal in Washington state.

The investigation goes on to allege that Parker had sex with a crime victim, showed disrespectful conduct toward her, used aliases to hide communication with her and shared details of other cases. The Skagit County Prosecutors’ Office, which was tasked with evaluating the case, has declined to press charges.

Despite the fact that Parker had a position of authority and power, despite the fact that his job duty is to serve and protect, he will not face a jury and he will not spend time in jail.

We do applaud Sheriff Ron Krebs and San Juan County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord for addressing the allegations against Parker as soon as they were made. Parker has lost his job and will never wear a badge again. But we don’t think that is enough.

As for the victim, who met Parker while she was involved in a sexual misconduct case with an Orcas Island school teacher, she will not receive justice, but rather the cold hard injustice of a society that does not support its women – even when they have been mistreated by those meant to protect them.

The Skagit prosecutor looked at charging Parker with a sex crime and witness tampering, but without enough evidence to prove those assertions beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor’s hands are tied. We are upset that although the Skagit office made it clear that some of the sexual relations between Parker and the victim were non-consensual, they don’t feel confident enough to take the charges to court.

As for the law, it needs to change. Police officials should not be allowed to have sexual relations with victims of cases. It is a clear abuse of power.