A Pasco police officer filed a federal lawsuit this week alleging Walla Walla officials were negligent, among other things, and mishandled a criminal case against him two years ago.
Officer Anthony Haworth’s attorney, William Gilbert, filed the complaint Monday in the U.S. District Court in Eastern Washington, asking for compensation for past and future economic loss, attorneys’ fees, and more, as well as demanding a jury trial.
The lawsuit’s defendants include Walla Walla Police Chief Scott Bieber and Detective Marcus Goodwater, Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Morales, among others.
Haworth was placed on paid leave for two years when he was charged in May 2017 with sex crimes dating to 2013, including indecent liberties, third-degree rape, first-degree incest and voyeurism, which were amended in June to include domestic violence on all charges, according to court records.
Haworth denied the allegations, including not knowing how nude photographs of his step-daughter were on his iPhone, and refused to take a polygraph, according to criminal case records.
The Pasco officer returned to his duties after the case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled, on April 16, 2019, due to “insufficient evidence ... to support criminal charges, and/or sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt,” according to court documents.
The criminal investigation was handled by Walla Walla officials — but tried in Franklin County — due to conflicts of interest in Benton and Franklin counties, Gilbert said, as Haworth had been a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy before joining the Pasco police force.
The federal lawsuit alleges that Goodwater and others mishandled the case, including violating “Haworth’s constitutional rights during the search in March 2017 of the Haworth residence” for evidence in the case.
The lawsuit also alleges Goodwater and Morales ignored evidence during the criminal case that would show Haworth’s innocence.
The lawsuit also states that none of the witnesses Goodwater interviewed supported Haworth’s stepdaughter’s allegations, but the detective and lead prosecutor, Morales, continued their probe into his guilt.
Haworth’s home was searched again in January 2018, but the two search warrants were later declared unconstitutional by Franklin County trial Judge Sam Swanberg, the lawsuit stated. However, Morales and Goodwater obtained another warrant from Judge John Lohrmann to re-seize all of the evidence.
The complaint lists many allegations of how the investigation and subsequent proceedings were handled, how Haworth’s step-daughter lied, and more.Emily Thornton can be reached at email@example.com or 509-526-8325.