Clallam Sheriff’s Deputy gets ‘last chance agreement’ after investigation

Michael Leiter was subject of probe of alleged inappropriate text messages

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Leiter gets one more chance, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office has decided.

Leiter signed a “last chance agreement” with the Sheriff’s Office following an administrative investigation into a woman’s allegation that he sent her an “inappropriate cellphone text message” following his civil standby of her complaint of domestic violence, according to a press release issued late Monday afternoon by the Sheriff’s Office.

Leiter signed the agreement last Wednesday “with the understanding should similar actions be committed in the future, the result would be termination,” according to the release.

Leiter, placed on paid administrative leave March 14 pending completion of the investigation, has returned to work, according to the release.

In her March 1 complaint, the woman said Leiter sent about 20 messages to her following a March 2016 domestic violence incident but no longer had the messages, according to the investigative report. Some were sexually explicit, she said.

“While Leiter did deny the allegations a few times, he consistently and ultimately maintained that he could not recall sending the sexually explicit message and its explanation to [the woman],” according to the investigation, which sustained her allegations.

Leiter was suspended Jan. 9 for one month without pay for violating the department’s misconduct policies after he and a different woman whose domestic violence charge he investigated engaged in 45 text-message exchanges Jan. 1-4, some of which were sexually explicit.

The woman who made the more recent allegation notified Clallam County of the text messages after reading a March 1 Peninsula Daily News article on Leiter’s suspension, according to the investigation.

The woman issued her complaint “when she realized that she was not the only person affected, and Leiter’s conduct was continuing three years later,” according to the investigation.

Leiter, Sheriff Bill Benedict and Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King were unavailable for comment Monday afternoon.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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