Former Auburn cop pleads guilty to assaulting woman

KENT -- Veteran Auburn police officer John Michael Clemmons has pleaded guilty to fondling a woman during a traffic stop.

Former police officer John Clemmons at the King County Superior Court Monday.

It's already cost him his job and it will likely cost him his career in law enforcement as well.

"Not exactly everything I wanted to happen happened.  I'm glad that he isn't able to be an officer anymore and that he did lose his badge,” victim Hannah Thompson said.

Thompson was surrounded Monday by family, her five-month ordeal just about over.

It happened Jan. 27, just after closing time at the Sports Page Bar and Grill in Auburn.

According to court documents, Thompson pulled out of the parking lot and noticed a marked Auburn police car following her.

It was Clemmons, but she says he never turned on his flashing lights and never pulled her over until she reached her driveway.

She says he put her through a sobriety test, cuffed her and put her in the back of his squad car.

Shortly thereafter while she was handcuffed, she say,s Clemmons groped her under the guise of a pat-down.

"When he went down the pants, he started from the left side down to his knuckles and went to the front to the right side and then back from the right side and down to the front again,” Thompson said.

In court, Clemmons pleaded guilty to one count of 4th degree assault, taking a plea deal that allows him to avoid jail time, but he loses his Washington state police officer certification and will likely never work as a police officer again.

Clemmons, who has two Purple Hearts, blamed the incident on PTSD.

"I saw a lot of violence, extreme violence.  I was put in situations that were extremely dangerous,” former Auburn police officer John Michael Clemmons said.

Clemmons' fellow officers were in court to show their suppor,t and on the other side sat the victim.

All along Thompson said she wanted Clemmons to lose his job, so that he couldn't hurt anyone else.

Thompson chose to make a statement in court Monday about how the incident changed her life forever.

"I don`t feel safe in Auburn at all, especially when these other officers are inn court to support him and I don’t feel safe when I still live in Auburn,” Thompson said.

APD commanders say all officers have been retrained on the department's standards and expectations.

"We want to make sure it doesn't happen again so yes we've taken steps to insure that officers understand that there are consequences to their actions and we want to make sure that their standards are as high as we expect them to be,” Auburn police Commander Mike Hirman said.

Clemmons was sentenced to one year in jail, deferred, which means he won’t actually serve time, plus two years of probation and community service.