SEATTLE — King County Sheriff John Urquhart has filed a lawsuit against a former deputy who has accused him of groping him.

The Seattle Times reports the lawsuit filed Wednesday contends the allegations are malicious, politically motivated lies made “for the purpose of causing substantial and irreparable harm” to derail the sheriff’s re-election bid.

The suit alleges Brian Barnes “malicious intent is substantiated by his more than 15 year habit and routine practice of targeting superiors with false complaints.”

The lawsuit states Urquhart is bringing this action to vindicate his rights, restore his reputation and establish that Barnes is liable for the substantial and irreparable harm he has caused.

Barnes declined to comment Thursday.

Barnes, now a police officer in Massachusetts, formally complained to the Sheriff’s Office in September that Urquhart groped him in 2014 in the parking lot of a Renton restaurant.

The Renton Police Department is investigating.


Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com