Provo Mayor: Police chief resigned after sex assault claim

March 16, 2017 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Provo’s mayor said Thursday that he asked the city’s police chief to resign because of a sexual assault complaint against him that prosecutors determined did not warrant charges.

“Irregardless of how valid the charges were, he has been tainted and damaged,” said Mayor John Curtis in a news conference about Chief John King’s resignation.

King said Tuesday he was resigning to devote more time to his family. He declined comment through police officials Wednesday when news of the allegation surfaced

Curtis said the woman made the allegation to city officials in February. Salt Lake County prosecutors investigated it but determined the information was “insufficient” to bring charges.

Curtis did not offer any details about the incident and said he did not know of any policies or laws that the police chief had broken.


When asked whether King acted inappropriately, Curtis said the point at which something becomes inappropriate is “very, very fuzzy.”

“On the one hand we had accusations and I felt a very strong desire and need to protect a potential victim,” said Curtis. “On the other hand we had a career and reputation at stake.”

Attempts to reach King Thursday were unsuccessful.

Calling King a friend, Curtis said the police chief had been dealing with family health problems.

King took the Provo job in 2014 after coming from Maryland.

Provo is one of the largest cities in Utah, with over 115,000 residents, and is home to the Mormon-church owned Brigham Young University.

King was among a handful of local Utah officials last year who pushed for Brigham Young University to change its policies after it faced a major backlash when news emerged the university opened honor code investigations into students after they reported being sexually assaulted.

He said police must have the cooperation of victims to investigate cases of sexual violence.

The university in October changed its policies and said it would no longer conduct honor code investigations of students who reported they were victims of sex assaults.

Provo officials are expected to announce Monday who will replace King as the city’s interim police chief.


Associated Press Writer Brady McCombs contributed to this report.