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Tuesday, September 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Secretary in Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office resigns amid accusations that she illegally recorded co-workers

The Spokane County Courthouse is set against a brilliant sunset on June 4, 2018. The state Supreme Court has declined to review a lawsuit over a proposed ballot initiative that would have empowered city employees to help enforce immigration laws. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokane County Courthouse is set against a brilliant sunset on June 4, 2018. The state Supreme Court has declined to review a lawsuit over a proposed ballot initiative that would have empowered city employees to help enforce immigration laws. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

A secretary with the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office resigned this month amid a criminal investigation that alleges she illegally recorded her co-workers discussing sensitive information multiple times.

On June 6, Spokane County Sheriff’s Detective Kirk Keyser learned from Chief Criminal Prosecutor Mark Cipolla that three other secretaries in the prosecutor’s office said the accused secretary recorded them without their consent five to six times in 2019, according to a search warrant filed in the Spokane County Superior Courthouse on June 18.

Detectives seized and searched the secretary’s computer, USB drive, iPhone and iPad on June 13, according to court documents.

The secretaries told detectives they caught the accused secretary recording them with her iPhone microphone while they were talking about sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers and private details about witnesses. The accused secretary would quickly put her iPhone away when they approached her, according to the other secretaries.

The secretaries also said they heard the distinct sound of the iPhone recorder and could see the image of the microphone graphic used with the iPhone recording app on her phone.

When interviewed by detectives, the accused secretary initially said her phone was “randomly activating” but later admitted to intentionally recording her co-workers for several months because they were talking too loudly. She said she wanted to show her manager how loud they were talking but had never discussed that issue with her manager, according to court documents.

One of the secretaries reported that the accused secretary had “large work errors” that she reported, which may have caused ill feelings and led to the recordings. She also told detectives the accused secretary was mocking her and making fun of her on a regular basis, according to court documents.

Recording people without consent in a private space is against the law in Washington.

Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell said he was unable to comment because of the ongoing investigation.

The Spokesman-Review is not naming the accused secretary because she has not been charged with a crime or arrested. Multiple attempts to reach her were unsuccessful.

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