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Port Orchard restaurant owner arrested for child molestation
By DANNIE OLIVEAUX and CHRIS CHANCELLOR
A veteran Seattle police officer, who also is the owner of a Port Orchard restaurant, was arrested June 30 on charges of child molestation and booked into Snohomish County Jail, according to media reports.
Sources confirmed to the Independent that the officer is Eric Smith, 57, the owner of Robert Earl Lighthouse.
KOMO reported the officer, who has spent more than 20 years with the department, is accused of molesting his former girlfriend’s daughter on several occasions between 2009-13, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office. Deputies reported the victim in the case was between 7 and 11 years old when the alleged crimes were committed.
Deputies arrested the Bothell resident on June 30 following a two-week investigation into the case. He’s now facing charges of first degree child molestation and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, reported KOMO.
Seattle police officials were made aware of the investigation on June 18 and put the officer on administrative leave, according to the police. Detectives are continuing with the investigation, KOMO reported.
On July 3, newly appointed Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole announced she suspended Smith without pay pending the outcome of the case.
A call to the Lighthouse revealed that Smith was not at the restaurant and management was unable to respond to media reports as of July 3.
The (Everett) Herald reported Smith appeared briefly in Everett District Court on Tuesday where his bail was set at $150,000. Smith has been charged with three counts of first-degree child molestation and two counts of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office began investigating early last month after the girl, 12, told her health class teacher and principal that she’d been the victim of inappropriate touching from 2009-13, according to a report prepared by detectives.
The investigation found that the girl has been telling people since she was 7 that Smith had molested her. Detectives also found that she’d at least once recanted the allegations after Smith challenged her in front of her mother, according to the Herald.
The Lighthouse, which opened May 20, remains open for business.