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James Young, Deseret News, File

City official: Provo police chief was asked to resign due to accusations of sexual misconduct

By Ben Lockhart | Posted - Mar. 15, 2017 at 10:31 p.m.



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PROVO — Provo Police Chief John King was asked to resign this week because of allegations of "sexual misconduct," the city's deputy mayor confirmed.

The allegations against King did not result in an arrest, Provo Deputy Mayor Corey Norman said Wednesday evening.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office also confirmed that it reviewed King's case and declined to file charges due to insufficient evidence.

But Provo Mayor John Curtis felt it was appropriate to ask the chief to resign Monday in light of the information that came out, Norman said.

"The mayor felt there were enough concerns with the report, and with that information, that he was not comfortable with the chief continuing on as the chief of the police department and asked him for his resignation," Norman said.

The deputy mayor said Curtis asked King to resign on Monday and that King "did so immediately."

He also confirmed that King's female accuser was not a city employee.

More details will be released by Curtis at a press conference scheduled for Thursday morning, Norman said. A request to speak with the mayor was declined.

According to a report on the Daily Herald website Wednesday evening, Curtis said he was contacted directly by King's accuser on Feb. 8 over the phone. Curtis told the Provo paper that he immediately contacted Provo City Attorney Robert West, who contacted the Utah County Attorney's Office.

Norman said he wanted to brief the Provo City Council and the Provo Police Citizens Advisory Board on Wednesday evening before releasing more information to reporters about the accusations against King.

"The details and the whys ... (are) going to be shared tomorrow. ... We felt an obligation to make sure those folks were in the loop," he said.

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Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said his office and the Unified Police Department were involved in the case because of the desire to avoid any conflict of interest in Utah County.

Gill confirmed that the accusations against King were sexual in nature and that his office concluded early this month that there was not enough evidence to warrant charges.

"Without going into details, they were allegations of sexual assault for which we could not find sufficient evidence for the filing of criminal charges and thus declined to file charges," he said.

Unified Police Lt. Brian Lohrke confirmed his agency investigated the allegations, but would not comment further.

King did not return a call for comment.

King became Provo police chief in 2013. He has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience. King also served as police chief in Gaithersburg, Maryland, before entering the private sector in 2010.

Curtis told the Daily Herald that King was already on a leave of absence when he called the chief and told him his leave would be extended because of the investigation. It was soon after King returned from his leave of absence that Curtis asked him to resign, the mayor told that Provo newspaper.

Asked by KSL on Tuesday whether King was retiring to rejoin his family in Maryland, Curtis responded, "he's got a mom starting chemo next week and he's been away for 3 1/2 years and he's got teenage kids and things like that, and it's probably best for him to go back."

Contributing: Brianna Bodily

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Ben Lockhart

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