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Originally published April 29, 2010 at 4:14 PM | Page modified April 29, 2010 at 8:13 PM

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Judge upholds suspension of SPD officer accused of kissing 18-year-old Explorer

A King County Superior Court judge found Thursday that a civil-service board acted properly when it upheld the 30-day suspension of a Seattle police officer who allegedly kissed a then 18-year-old woman he was supervising in 2008.

Seattle Times staff reporter

A King County Superior Court judge found Thursday that a civil-service board acted properly when it upheld the 30-day suspension of a Seattle police officer who allegedly kissed an 18-year-old woman he was supervising in 2008.

Judge Paris Kallas rejected an appeal by Rob Mahoney, ruling that the Public Safety Civil Service Commission followed the law and had sufficient proof to reach its decision.

Mahoney, 47, argued that the three-member commission failed to use a correct standard of proof requiring a preponderance of evidence. Instead, Mahoney contended, it wrongly deferred to whether the police chief had enough evidence to justify the discipline.

In a written ruling, Kallas found the commission applied the preponderance standard.

Mahoney also argued that even if that standard was used, it was too low a burden in light of what was at stake regarding harm to his reputation.

Kallas rejected the claim, saying "given the nature of the law-enforcement profession and the impact on public safety and confidence, a less stringent standard protects the public interest."

She also noted Mahoney had not been fired.

Mahoney was suspended after the woman, a former member of the department's youth Explorer program who went on to be a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, reported to the Police Department that Mahoney had kissed her without her permission on April 7, 2008.

Mahoney, who joined the department in 1998, also was involuntarily transferred from his training position.

He denied the kiss happened and appealed former Chief Gil Kerlikowske's punishment to the commission.

The civil-service board voted 2-1 to uphold the 30-day suspension. The dissenting commissioner said the suspension should have been for 15 days.

All three agreed the department failed to prove Mahoney had been dishonest in his response to the allegation.

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this story.

Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or smiletich@seattletimes.com

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