Pierce County prosecutors have dropped the felony charge against a sheriff’s deputy accused of forcing a woman to have sex with him in his patrol car.
Deputy Joey Tracy, 35, originally was charged in Superior Court with first-degree custodial sexual misconduct and official misconduct, to which he pleaded not guilty at arraignment April 28.
Prosecutors dismissed the sexual misconduct charge Oct. 4, citing “evidentiary concerns” in the order for dismissal. They then filed the official misconduct charge, a gross misdemeanor, in District Court.
“After the charges were filed, we received evidence from which we concluded we could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Tracy had sex with the woman while she was being detained, so we could not proceed with the felony charge,” said John Sheeran, the prosecutor’s office assistant criminal division chief.
Defense attorney Brad Meryhew said Thursday he did not know why the felony charge was dismissed, but noted he had given prosecutors text messages between his client and the woman that showed a different account than that in charging papers.
“We did provide them with additional information which called into question, first of all who initiated the contact, and whether it was consensual,” Meryhew said.
According to the initial charging papers:
During a traffic stop in January 2015 in Bonney Lake, the woman begged Tracy not to take her to jail because she had active warrants.
He agreed and she left. About 25 minutes later, she got a text message from Tracy, who was in his patrol car in front of the woman's house, filling out paperwork.
She got in the car with Tracy, who asked her some questions before he drove her to an area in Wilkeson and said he’d bring her in on the warrants if she didn’t have had sex with him.
She agreed and they had sex. They met up again the next month.
When a third party told the Sheriff’s Department about the alleged misconduct in March, Tracy already was on paid leave for an unrelated investigation into whether he had violated department procedures.
His pay was stopped after his arrest.
His employment status as of Friday wasn’t clear.