The Washington State Patrol has decided to fire Trooper Christopher Daigle following an agency investigation into whether he had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl, agency spokesman Sgt. Darren Wright said.
But the Sequim resident will continue to make $7,000 a month on administrative leave, which he has been on since at least May 2019, not engaging in any State Patrol duties while he considers appealing the decision, Wright said Feb. 14.
Daigle has a romantic relationship with the girl, now 16, according to court documents.
The age of consent in Washington state is 16.
“A decision has been made to terminate him that is going through the process at this time,” Wright said. “The process has to go through several steps to complete the termination.”
Wright would not comment on the agency’s reason for dismissal.
Sequim lawyer William Payne, representing Daigle in ongoing divorce proceedings, said on Feb. 14 he assumes Daigle will appeal the dismissal.
Daigle, who filed for the divorce in July 2018, could not be reached Friday for comment.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office conducted a criminal investigation of the allegation, submitting the investigative report to the prosecuting attorney’s office for a charging decision.
Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said on Feb. 14 it did not include a probable cause statement recommending that a charge or charges should be filed.
King said the alleged victim, who had been a friend of Daigle’s daughter according to court documents, would not be interviewed for the criminal investigation.
Several affidavits filed during the divorce proceedings shed light on Daigle’s and the girls’ relationship, and the impact on his family.
Daigle, who is in his late 30s, is openly dating the girl and brings her with him when he visits his children, according to the court documents.
The girl was 15 when she told a friend at school that she was having a sexual relationship with Daigle and started “sleeping together” when she turned 16, the friend said in a signed statement contained in court files.
“She claims they are in love,” the friend said.
King said it is difficult to recommend the filing of charges in cases in which the alleged victim refuses to be interviewed.
Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols said on Feb. 14 that he would review the State Patrol file on Daigle’s termination and any new information that the Sheriff’s Office might have uncovered before making a charging decision.
Nichols said an alleged victim’s lack of cooperation, willingness or ability to support the prosecution’s efforts can “considerably” affect a decision to file charges.
In a court affidavit Daigle filed during the divorce proceedings, he said his wife, Sara’s, allegations caused the launching of both investigations.
“Because of the criminal and (State Patrol) investigations, I have been advised to not make any statements regarding the allegations until the dual investigations are complete,” Daigle said.
“This puts me at a real disadvantage in that I cannot address the court about the allegations at this time.
“I believe the allegations are being asserted by the respondent in order to attempt to disrupt my visitation with my children after I was able to find housing in Sequim to be nearer to my children.”
Sara Daigle said in an affidavit that her daughter brought the relationship to her attention.
She said her daughter’s school “was in an uproar” over his ongoing relationship with the girl.
“Others regularly see the 16-year-old’s car at my husband’s house often, and they are seen together all over town,” she said.
“I have passed them together in his truck as I’m driving through town.”
Daigle said in one affidavit that he had been paying about $4,500 a month to support his wife and their children, including a mortgage and child support.
Daigle said in another affidavit that his children “have been requesting to spend time around (the 16-year-old girl) when they are with me, and Sara doesn’t like it.”
In a Dec. 12 opinion, Superior Court Commissioner Brandon Mack denied Daigle’s motion that his wife not be allowed to move with their children out of state.
“Regardless of whether Mr. Daigle committed any crimes against (the girl) before she turned 16, he has not outright disputed throughout this case that he is in a relationship with her now,” Mack said.
“Surprisingly, Mr. Daigle has not disavowed the alleged relationship with (the 16-year-old girl) for the benefit of his children.
“In fact, he has actually worked in the opposite direction by actually having her at some of his visits.
“The message this could possible show the children … is that he is choosing to continue his romantic relationship over prioritizing his bond with his children.”