Curtis Denies Protecting Police Chief Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Provo chief John King was forced out of office last year after he was accused of assaulting a volunteer

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, denied knowing about sexual harassment claims against Provo’s former police chief. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, denied knowing about sexual harassment claims against Provo’s former police chief. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted March 22, 2018 at 8:56am

Utah Rep. John Curtis is denying charges that he ignored sexual harassment complaints about Provo’s former police chief.

Curtis, who was mayor of Provo before his election to the House last year, sent a statement Wednesday to media outlets in response to a lawsuit filed the day before, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

“I have not and would never knowingly do anything to shield any individual who acted inappropriately with respect to sexual harassment,” he said.

Curtis also said the allegations were “not accurately reported” in the media.

The lawsuit was filed by five women who contend Curtis ignored complaints against former police chief John King, who was forced out of office late last year after allegations he assaulted a volunteer.

Curtis is accused of holding a meeting in 2014 with police supervisors in which he allegedly said he did not want to hear any more accusations about King.

The Tribune also reported that Curtis held a closed-door meeting about King’s conduct in late 2015 or early 2016.

But Curtis said he received only two complaints about King.

“The first incident was when a police dispatcher informed the city that she felt uncomfortable with the way the former chief looked at her,” he said.

Curtis said he never questioned the validity of the allegation and worked with the city’s human resources department.

“I personally worked with the chief to set boundaries in dispatch to make a better work environment for the employee,” he said.

Curtis said the second incident was a report of sexual assault that led to King resigning in March 2017. The woman in the case is one of the women in the lawsuit against Curtis.

“I received a phone call in my car from a woman who explained that she had been raped by the Provo City police chief,” he said. “I never attempted to protect or shield John King or the horrendous actions.”

Curtis also said he was not aware that when King worked for the Baltimore Police Department that he was forced out because of a report he assaulted a coworker.

“Somehow, we missed those warning signs,” he said.

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