culp

Loren Culp

Photo: AP/Elaine Thompson

A controversial 'thorn' in the side of the city of Republic and its former police chief, Loren Culp, has finally been pulled after years of legal battles.

The Seattle Times reports that $275,000 has been paid out to the plaintiff of a lawsuit as settlement after she accused Ferry County Sheriff's deputy Talon Venturo and then police officer with the city of Republic, Loren Culp of an improper investigation into the sex abuse allegations made by her in 2013 when she was 17 years old.

The alleged victim claims she was sexually abused by her step-father since she was five years old.

When the investigation was dropped, the Benton County Sheriff's Office stepped in at the request of the girl's grandparents and found enough evidence to arrest Roy Moore Jr. for child rape, child molestation and incest. The Seattle Times reports Moore was sentenced to 67-months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of child molestation. He was released from prison in 2019.

Culp, a two-time political candidate who lost the 2020 Washington gubernatorial race and lost the race for representative of the 4th congressional district, was named in the lawsuit as was Venturo, Ferry County and the city of Republic.

The settlement prevented the lawsuit from going to trial. But trial or not, Culp contends that he should have never been named as a defendant in the lawsuit. 

“I have been telling everyone through two campaigns now, one for Governor and one for Congress that this was not my case, it was not in my jurisdiction, I was not the investigating officer and I wasn't even Chief of Police at the time. The truth did not stop the liberal media, my Republican opponents, and even leadership in the Republican Party from using it to discredit my stellar reputation as a Police Officer with personal attacks of me being a dirty cop. I believe this cost me the election for Congress because Representative Dan Newhouse and Republican PACs from Washington DC spent two and a half million dollars running down my name with their politics of personal destruction.”

Culp and Venturo have been dismissed in the lawsuit. 

According to court documents obtained by the Seattle Times, the lawsuit states that the 17-year-old girl in 2013 had initially reported the abuse to a 23-year-old Republic reserve police officer, Matthew Beard, whom she had been dating. Beard was also a defendant in the lawsuit amid allegations that he had not immediately reported the girl's situation to his police department superiors or child protective services as obligated by state law. Beard reportedly told the girl's mother instead. 

Documents state that Venturo was the primary investigating party and obtained a search warrant. Venturo reportedly interviewed the alleged victim's mother and provided her a digital recorder in hopes of getting a confession on record, but that didn't happen. 

The Seattle Times reports that the teen was sent to Beard's home to stay with him, which is where the lawsuit alleges the two had engaged in sexual activity. Beard's attorney denied they had sex. 

Venturo interviewed Moore and Culp interviewed the victim, where she was incorrectly told that Moore had been jailed and that more info was needed to hold him, according to the lawsuit obtained by the Seattle Times.