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Ladiser pleads guilty in drunken golf course incident

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By Noah Haglund
Herald Writer
SEATTLE -- Former Snohomish County Planning Director Craig Ladiser pleaded guilty this afternoon to a sexually charged assault of a woman while he was in a drunken stupor at a golf tournament last summer.
Ladiser pleaded guilty to one count each of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation and indecent exposure. Both are misdemeanors.
The plea was entered before King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson, who scheduled sentencing for Sept. 3.
Under an agreement reached with King County prosecutors, Ladiser could receive suspended sentences and no jail time. However, the judge is not bound by the agreement.
The offenses carry up to a year in the county jail.
Ladiser entered a so-called Alford plea, meaning he was not admitting guilt but acknowledging a jury would likely convict him as charged.
Ladiser maintained he was too intoxicated to remember what happened.
"Mr. Ladiser has no independent recollection of the truth of what's in there," his defense attorney, Ralph Hurvitz, told the judge.
The woman , a building-industry lobbyist, accused Ladiser of exposing himself and rubbing his bare genitals against her during a June 2009 golf tournament in Redmond. Hosting the tournament was woman's employer, the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. Ladiser was playing as a guest of the builders group.
Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon fired Ladiser in August 2009 after conducting an investigation. King County authorities charged Ladiser in March.
The episode raised questions of propriety because of the appearance of a friendly relationship between the county planning department and the building industry.Public records showed that a top Master Builders' officer discouraged the woman from pursuing a complaint against Ladiser and tried to keep the planning director in his job.
The case increased scrutiny of complaints about sexual harassment involving staff Ladiser managed.
Afterward, the attorney in charge of investigating workplace harassment complaints for the county resigned. So did Reardon's former top deputy, Mark Soine.
Ladiser, 59, has since moved to Grandview in Eastern Washington. He's been seeking treatment for alcoholism, the court was told.
Under the plea agreement, King County prosecutors agreed to support suspending Ladiser's jail time, so long as he stays out of trouble for two years and keeps the court informed about his progress in treatment.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465,

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