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Former Poulsbo Mayor Mitchusson charged with stalking, assault

Former Poulsbo Mayor Richard
Former Poulsbo Mayor Richard 'Mitch' Mitchusson made an appearance in court on Thursday. He's facing charges of stalking and assault with sexual motivation.
— image credit: Justine Frederiksen/Staff photo

Charges filed by the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office on a former Poulsbo mayor allege stalking and sexually motivated assault against the well-known community figure.

Former Poulsbo Mayor Richard ‘Mitch’ Mitchusson was arrested

by Kitsap County Sheriff's deputies Wednesday after complaints surfaced from several women in Poulsbo, citing unwanted inappropriate physical contacts dating as far back as January 2008 and occurring as recently as this month.

Officers developed probable cause that Mitchusson, 70, displayed a pattern of criminal behavior with at least three adult women, KCSO reports. Mitchusson allegedly visited one victim's home during early morning hours. When she opened her door, according to the victim's statement, he entered, began asking personal questions and touched the woman sexually. The victim reported Mitchusson returned to her home several times, as well as her place of employment. She told detectives she has since placed a baseball bat by her door and quit a club at which Mitchusson was also a member.

Two other victims reported Mitchusson visiting their homes or places of employment unsolicited. One, who stated she has known Mitchusson for years, said she "noticed that he is becoming more aggressive and sexual in nature," charging papers state.

Mitchusson told deputies many of the allegations are untrue. He said to deputies "where he comes from in Oklahoma, hugging was just what they did," the papers state.

Mitchusson was arrested at 2:40 p.m. Wednesday during a routine traffic stop in downtown Poulsbo, where he is a familiar presence. He served as Poulsbo's mayor from 1985 to 1999, previously having worked as a member of the city's Public Works Department beginning in 1975.

Mitchusson was booked on suspicion of two counts of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation and one count of stalking, each of which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison or a fine of $5,000. Combined bail is set at $70,000.

Mitchusson is currently in custody and will most likely make his first court appearance at 1:30 p.m. today in Kitsap County District Court.

Wilson said KCSO released Mitchusson's identity in advance of charges being filed because detectives believe there is a strong possibility there are additional victims who have not yet been identified. Those who believe they are a victim, or who have information about this investigation, are asked to contact Detective Chad Birkenfeld at (360) 337-5619 or Detective Steve Duckworth at (360) 337-5669.

The Poulsbo Police Department requested KCSO’s assistance in the investigation. Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade said the request was made to "avoid any conflict."

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