Prosecutor candidate under probe for sex abuse, coercion of inmate

Prosecutor candidate under probe for sex abuse, coercion of inmate »Play Video
PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- The man who wants to be Clallam County's next prosecutor is under investigation for possible sexual abuse and coercion of a jail inmate.

And a KOMO News investigation has revealed attorney David Fox has faced similar allegations before.

Justin Mason told officers a shocking story alleging Fox, his attorney, sexually abused him late at night several times inside the attorney-client meeting booth at the Clallam County Jail.

"He had me take my shirt off," said Mason, who said things got worse. Fox disrobed and threatened to drop Mason's case, in which case Mason would go to prison, if he didn't show Fox his genitals.

"(He said,) 'Take your shirt off or I'm just going to drop you. I'm not going to defend you any more."'

"That is absolutely false," said Fox. "He never said that. I never said that. That conversation never happened."

When asked whether he ever expose himself to Mason, Fox said, "No." When asked whether he'd ever asked Mason to expose himself, Fox said, "No."

But Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict said Fox admitted to the "sexual misconduct" to his detectives, but he considered it "consensual sex."

Justin Mason
Mason said there was nothing consensual about it.

"I said, 'Put your clothes back on. This is wrong. I don't want to do this.' And he says, 'Well, if you don't want to proceed with this, then I'm not going to proceed as your counsel any more,'" said Mason.

Mason told the same story to his friend, Mary Takatsui.

"Even if he was a willing participant, because he's locked up, I don't think that's consensual. That's power to me," Takatsui said.

But the Problem Solvers dug up a recent second case stemming from a complaint about Fox to the Washington State Bar Association, accusing Fox of unethical and inappropriate behavior toward another young client.

The complaint focuses on a series of sexual text messages that the client's parents say were inappropriate. The messages were sent even after Fox was warned to leave the young man alone, the complaint said.

But Fox doesn't think his behavior was inappropriate in any of these cases.

"No, I do not," he said.

Fox's explanation: "I think this is a gay witch hunt."

The sheriff's office has sent the case to the state Attorney General's Office for a follow-up investigation. The Attorney General's Office has not yet decided whether to charge Fox criminally in connection with this case.