Provo Settles Lawsuit Involving Former Police Chief John King

John King, former Gaithersburg police chief who was ousted in 2010 for violations of departmental rules while in office, was party to a settlement between Provo, Utah, and five women who had sued the city alleging that King sexually harassed them while he was chief of police. Under the terms of the settlement, the city of Provo agreed to pay the women $750,000.

After retiring from the Montgomery County Police Department in 2005 as assistant chief, King was hired by Gaithersburg to direct the 60-officer department. In 2010, he was removed from his position as chief due to violations of departmental rules. King arrived in Provo as their chief of police in 2013 after a route that took him to a position on the Baltimore City department and director of the police academy at Hagerstown Community College. After being chief in Provo for a few years he was accused of a pattern of improper behavior by four employees and an intern. One of the women accused him of rape but no criminal charges were brought. In 2017 King was relieved of his duties and left the city.

In March 2018, the women sued the City of Provo and King for a variety of claims. The employees were dispatchers in the communication section and patrol officers. One was a college intern assigned to King, and he chose to help her on her project. Among the Cause of Actions in the lawsuit was a claim of Negligent Employment. The suit said that the City of Provo had a duty to protect its employees and citizens against harm caused by its employees. Provo breached that duty, among other things, by failing to properly investigate Chief King’s background before his hiring; by hiring King despite easily discovered information that would have warned Provo of King’s proclivity for sexual misconduct; by failing to supervise King’s conduct; and retaining King after receiving complaints about his sexual misconduct, the suit alleged.
The settlement of the lawsuit was first announced by the Provo Daily Herald.

King apparently came back to Montgomery County where he was seen working in the security department at the Pike & Rose complex on Rockville Pike. About the time that the settlement of the lawsuit was announced, King was no longer at Pike and Rose. Mickey Papillion, vice president and general manager of Pike & Rose, said, “Mr. King was employed by a third-party vendor and was briefly part of the staffing that vendor provided to Pike & Rose. Mr. King has been removed from that staffing and is no longer providing services at Pike & Rose or any other Federal Realty property.”