A woman who accused the King County sheriff of rape is seeking the order because she claims his office is disseminating her medical information to discredit her during his re-election campaign. Urquhart has denied the allegation.
A judge on Tuesday morning agreed to delay until Dec. 5 a hearing to determine whether a woman should be granted a permanent protection order against King County Sheriff John Urquhart.
Judge Elizabeth Martin granted the continuance requested by Urquhart’s attorney Todd Maybrown. Urquhart, who is seeking re-election in Tuesday’s election, did not attend the hearing in King County Superior Court in Seattle.
Martin, a Pierce County Superior Court judge, also reissued the temporary protection order the woman obtained last week, which prohibits Urquhart from knowingly coming within 500 feet of her. The woman, who last year accused Urquhart of raping her years earlier, sought the order because she claims Urquhart has been disseminating her medical information to discredit her during his re-election campaign.
Martin heard the case to prevent an appearance of a conflict of interest in King County.
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Martin also granted the woman’s request to have a court-appointed attorney assigned to her. She also ordered both parties to exchange witness statements and discovery lists by Nov. 21.
Urquhart has adamantly denied that he assaulted or had consensual sex with the woman. In April, the King County Prosecutor’s Office announced that Urquhart wouldn’t face charges in connection with the alleged rape.
As for the request for a protection order, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office said last week: “There is not one single new allegation in her affidavit to obtain the order. Her allegations were investigated by the Seattle Police Department and found to have no merit. Sheriff Urquhart will not be attending the hearing.”
The Seattle Times typically does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault without their permission. The woman has asked not be named.
The woman said she sought the protection order after recently seeing Equal Rights Washington’s political endorsement of Urquhart’s challenger, Mitzi Johanknecht.
In the endorsement, Equal Rights Washington, an LGBTQ advocacy group, claimed that after raising concerns about the woman’s sexual-assault allegations against Urquhart, “his campaign offered to send the victim’s medical file to prove that she was ‘crazy’ and ‘not credible.’ ”
Urquhart’s chief of staff, Chris Barringer, denied the offer was made.
“There is no medical file,” Barringer wrote in an email to The Seattle Times.
Monisha Harrell, board chairwoman for Equal Rights Washington, attended Tuesday’s hearing in support of Urquhart’s accuser.
“I am here supporting someone who has been absolutely trashed for telling her truth,” Harrell said after the hearing. “And I know what I heard, I know what happened during that call, so I’m here to speak the truth to any judge who would ask.”