10/22/2014

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Cop accused of tipping bikini baristas to police investigations

Cop accused of tipping bikini baristas to police investigations
EVERETT, Wash. -- A sergeant with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office has been arrested for allegedly tipping off the owners of seven bikini barista stands to scheduled police surveillance.

As a part of the investigation, eight others involved with the bikini stands in question were arrested on accusations of prostitution and lewd conduct, said Deputy Chief Dan Templeman with the Everett Police Department.

The investigation began about 3½ months ago in the aftermath of a Kent police operation that culminated in the arrest of two employees at a bikini barista stand for lewd conduct.

While interviewing those detained, detectives learned sergeant Darrell O'Neill with the Snohomish County Sheriff's office was tipping workers as to when it was safe to "put on a show," police said.

"He was providing law-enforcement sensitive information on when undercover operations were being conducted and even some of the makes and models of an undercover vehicle," Templeman said.

One barista, in court documents, told investigators she allegedly saw O'Neill having sex inside one of the stands, but Everett police say they never witnessed that during their surveillance. But they stress its investigation is far from over.

"We are investigating exactly how he may have been involved in what other areas," Templeman said.

The surveillance footage did show O'Neill hugging and kissing several of the baristas. Detectives calls O'Neill's arrest the ultimate violation of public trust.

"In this profession, public trust is extremely important when we learn of information that one of our own may have breached that trust it is very disappointing," Templeman said. "It is a big shock to us in more ways than one and certainly a disappointment."

O'Neill is a 30-year veteran of the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office and has been placed on administrative leave after his arrest for investigation of conspiracy to promote prostitution and official misconduct.

The investigation also led to search warrants being executed at the seven different Java Juggs and Twin Peaks espresso stands in Snohomish and King County involved, as well as a home in Snohomish.

"Through video surveillance, interviews, and in-person surveillance and we were able to witness prostitution and lewd conduct at those stands -- pretty blatant activity occurring at those stands," Templeman said.

Several people were detained, including owners, managers and workers, Templeman said.

Everett Police spokesman Aaron Snell tells the Everett Herald that all those arrested were adults.
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