Teton County Sheriff's Office

Mayor Pete Muldoon is exploring his legal options after the Teton County Sheriff’s Office released 2018 reports wherein a woman accused him of sexual assault.

“This was a false allegation, period,” Muldoon said. “I’ve contacted an attorney as I think the Sheriff’s Department has obviously and willfully violated my rights under state statute, and must be held accountable.”

The sheriff’s office, with the guidance of the Teton County Prosecutor’s Office, released two police reports last week where they redacted the name of the accuser but didn’t redact Muldoon’s name.

The name of the alleged suspect in a sex assault is supposed to remain confidential until probable cause is found for indictment, per Wyoming’s restricted disclosure law. (6-2-319)

Teton County Prosecuting Attorney Erin Weisman said because no charges were ever filed against Muldoon that his name is subject to release.

“The release of the name of an alleged actor is not released prior to the filing of an information or indictment,” Weisman said. “In this case, prosecution was declined, and at that point the records may be released.”

Attorney Bruce Moats (who occasionally represents the Jackson Hole Daily) said Weisman’s interpretation of the law is contrary to why the law exists.

“The idea was this was to protect those falsely accused,” Moats said. “I have a hard time wrapping my head around how that would change just when charges aren’t filed.”

Muldoon, who’s running for a Jackson Town Council seat, said the sheriff’s office should be investigated, because the state law says the release of a name prior to felony arraignment is a misdemeanor crime.

“Up until last week, the system worked as it should have,” Muldoon said. “An allegation was made, treated seriously, thoroughly investigated, and properly found to be untrue. I was asked whether I wanted to press charges against the person making a false report, and I declined as I was assured that in cases where the allegations were false, the law prohibited the release of information to the public — as it should.”

Sheriff Matt Carr said they treated the records request, which was filed by libertarian and political activist Gloria Courser, the same as every inquiry they receive.

“We get records requests on a regular basis,” he said, “and we send all of them to the county attorney for review. We handled this one like we would any other.”

Courser said she requested the case file because she had filed other requests regarding Muldoon's criminal record on lesser infractions. Once she received the report she thought the public should see it. Courser said she emailed it “to two people” and it spread from there, ending up in many inboxes, including one at the Jackson Hole News&Guide, sister publication to the Jackson Hole Daily. Courser and Muldoon have traded barbs on social media.

The reports that were released only included interviews with the alleged victim. The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations took it from there. The News&Guide submitted a request for the rest of the investigative file to the Wyoming Attorney General, with no response.

But Weisman confirmed the case was closed without criminal finding.

“In early January 2019, DCI brought its investigative report to Chief Deputy Prosecutor Clark Allan,” Weisman said. “As part of Mr. Allan’s review process in determining whether or not to file criminal charges, Mr. Allan discussed the investigation report with the DCI agent and with the alleged victim. The DCI agent concluded that the evidence did not support probable cause, and it was the opinion of the DCI agent that no crime had occurred. Based upon Mr. Allan’s analysis and the conclusion of the DCI investigation, Mr. Allan declined prosecution. Therefore, no charges were filed.”

Muldoon said there’s no logic behind the county attorney and police releasing his name after they didn’t find a crime had occurred.

“This explanation is ludicrous,” he said. “I read the statute and it says nothing of the sort. This is the sheriff’s department making crap up to cover for the fact that they broke the law.”

Muldoon feels he was unfairly targeted by Courser and police because of his support for local mask mandates and his probing of the Jackson Police Department budget.

“I’m not easily intimidated, and I’m going to continue to do my job of protecting public health and overseeing the police budget,” he said.

Moats, meanwhile, remained troubled about the reason for not redacting the mayor’s name.

“I have never heard that once a prosecutorial decision is made to not prosecute that it brings it out from underneath the law,” Moats said. “If it is used depending on who the accused is ... that concerns me.”

The headline on this article has been updated to be more clear and specific. — Eds. 

Contact Emily Mieure at 732-7066 or courts@jhnewsandguide.com.

Emily Mieure covers criminal justice and emergency news. She also leads the News&Guide’s investigative efforts. She has reported for WDRB TV in Louisville, Ky., WFIE TV in Evansville, Ind., and WEIU TV in Charleston, Ill.

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(17) comments

Johanna Love Staff
Johanna Love

The following comment was submitted by a woman involved in this case, so News&Guide editors are allowing an exception to our rules of requiring names. 

Be really careful with interactions with women. If you have sex with her, make sure she enthusiastically consents. Make sure she wants it and enjoys herself. Treat her with respect and honesty. If you are working with her or doing business with her, be really careful to look her in the eyes and consider what she is saying. Interact with her like she’s a human being and not an object of your sexual desire. Use extreme caution when speaking to her. Don’t use foul or abusive language. If she makes you upset, carefully resist hitting her. Be especially careful with interactions with women, personal or otherwise, since they deserve respect in every state, and men won’t be thrown to the curb.

Roger Hayden

"Unknown User"? Doesn't editorial policy require real names be used? And, why was the "reply" option not available for this comment? If the NAG editor has something to say, why hide behind a fake ID not allowed by the policy?

Engage Staff
Audience Engagement

Thanks for catching that, Roger. "Unknown User" does violate our commenting policy, it slipped through, and it has now been removed. As with letters to the editor in print newspapers, we do still require real names on website comments, though we admit it is getting more difficult to track, especially with the rise of fake accounts nationally and locally. To prevent such issues, we will likely be moving in the near future to a subscriber-only comment section on our website in hopes that it helps prevent fake accounts more easily, and hopefully helps maintain a productive and neighborly discourse. As for our own replies, editors will comment via their own accounts or via this account, and all editors and staff names are listed on the masthead of the print paper and in the staff listing on this website.Thanks again, Roger.

gloria courser

No, Pete, I am not "targeting" you because of a mask mandate. I have been opposed to your position in office since before your term in 2016 began. I find you to be dishonest, duplicitous, and disingenuous. Your past seems to corroborate those opinions as you have written bad checks to the tune of a felony offense that you were somehow forgiven for. You stole from a hotel on your first night in Jackson, for which you've been forgiven. (For a guy given so much forgiveness from the long arm of the law, I'd think you'd be a friend). You denied that renting a room in your home for a full year's rent to a seasonal visitor, Bobby, who only used it a few weeks/months of the year was not the same as those trying to make ends meet by offering short-term rentals to visitors. You claim to be a workforce housing champion except you did not rent your room to a year-round resident who needed it but to a "Jackass" wannabe that was here to play. I won't even go into your lack of civility in emails, on FB, and in texts with those you do not agree with.

And now, this allegation from 2018. It is not my job to decide wether a crime was committed. Crime or not, all I needed to further convince me of your hypocrisy was to read the summary of your texts to your accuser. Distasteful.

No, I didn't target you.

A number of concerned citizens want you out of office. They asked that I submit a records request and I did. I didn't create the event. I didn't create the record. I didn't share it with the NAG. I simply requested it. If you would like to play a victim like you play a cowboy, be my guest.

But, more and more people are seeing through the charade.

And to borrow your words, "I won't be intimidated" by you.

Mike May

Wow, this is tragic. Seems pretty obvious that Courser was head-hunting Mayor Muldoon given their history. Small town politics at it's "finest"....

gloria courser

There is a very large group of concerned individuals who have been very dissatisfied with Muldoon as mayor. I was asked by a number of them to request these records. You can go ahead and consider me the villain. But all I did was request records and share with those who asked for them.

Simply because my name was on the request does not mean this was my mission, idea, or that I am alone.

gloria courser

Although I feel your blame is misappropriated, I think I will keep your label… The Headhunter....it kind of sounds like a vigilante. I like it.

Roger Hayden

According to this story, a person can accuse another of something, true or false, and the accused suffers the consequences. Haven't we seen this in nasty divorces or employer/employee relations? If I managed to schedule lunch with Gloria Courser to target her, and later accused her of sexually illegal conduct, how would anybody know if the act ever occurred? Whether she was convicted of a crime or not, if her name were released, harm would be done.

All men need to be especially careful with interactions with women, personal or otherwise, since laws in almost every state favor women and throw men to the curb.

gloria courser

Well Roger, I guess I won’t accept an invitation to lunch from you!

gloria courser

And, FYI, I didn’t submit the records to the NAG. I only requested them. The NAG is the one that ran the story. But, hey, I can be your villain!

TERRENCE MILAN

Like it or not, but as mayor, he is in the public domain. Which these days, he ends up having the same rights as Bret Kavanaugh, Joe Biden, and on and on. Those one nighters can come back to bite you. I would suggest he do it somewhere else and never use his own name. Don't use mine either. Something original like John Smith or something. That way she should be able to figure out that she's being lied to.

Roger Hayden

I get your point about public domain, Terrance.The kind of thing we would have discussed ad nauseum in journalism classes years ago. Of course, you help make my point by saying, "I suggest he do it somewhere else and never use his own name." Do what? The legal system found he did nothing he was falsely accused of. Nevertheless, as you proved here, he still did something.

My point was to focus on how easy it is for someone to publically make accusations against somebody, be proven wrong, suffer little, while the real victim suffers in ways that usually can't be remedied. But if it's a white man who's an elected official, too bad.

Tim Rieser

Based on what I read, I think that if there weren’t charges the accusations should not have been released

Roger Hayden

I hear ya, Tim. The counter argument would be that the accused should get a fair trial, which always would be questioned if it were not public. Geezz, I'm reliving my journalism career here.

Tim Rieser

I agree. It’s a difficult situation to puzzle out. I’m ambivalent. Crime or no crime according to the CA office, both parties have reasonable expectations if not rights. This is probably not something I can resolve in my head.

TERRENCE MILAN

Yes, that is common sense. But what has common sense have to do what is happening today?

Tim Rieser

Tru dat!

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