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Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole has suspended without pay a veteran police officer charged with molesting the daughter of a former girlfriend.

“As a chief, and as a parent, I am deeply troubled by these allegations.” O’Toole said in a statement issued Thursday shortly after Snohomish County prosecutors charged Officer Eric A. Smith with three counts of first-degree child molestation and two counts of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

Smith, 57, of Bothell, was arrested Monday and released the next day from the Snohomish County Jail after posting $150,000 bail.

As is standard in Snohomish County, Smith was charged in the county’s district court. Felony charges are then refiled in Snohomish County Superior Court.

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The filing deadline for charging Smith in Superior Court is July 18. Once those charges are filed, additional information on the allegations will be released by the prosecution.

According to jail booking paperwork released by prosecutors earlier this week, the allegations came to light after the alleged victim, who is now 12, told a teacher about suffering years of abuse. The abuse allegedly occurred when the girl was between the ages of 7 and 11 while Smith was dating her mother.

According to the paperwork, the child had told her mother about the alleged abuse on three earlier occasions.

The girl’s mother told investigators that after the first disclosure the girl recanted and was punished by her mother for lying.

The mother told investigators she now believes her daughter might have been coerced by Smith into changing her story, booking paperwork said.

According to Seattle police personnel records, Smith was hired as an officer in 1983 and has worked as a motorcycle officer since 2002. The department says he was placed on administrative leave on June 18 when the department became aware of the Snohomish County investigation.

Ron Smith, president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, said he was “shocked” by the allegations against Smith (no relation).

“This is not the person I thought I knew if the allegations are true. I’m hoping they’re not,” he said.

Jennifer Sullivan:

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this story.

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