Sadly it is often that police officers around the country are arrested for rape on and off duty.
But it is not often that officers are arrested for raping fellow officers.
However, that was the case this week in Washington when Spokane Police Sergeant Gordon Ennis was arrested on second degree rape charges for raping a female officer in his department.
And he almost avoided arrest altogether with the alleged help of the police union president, Spokane Police Sergeant John Gately, who is being investigated for tipping Ennis off about a warrant.
The alleged rape occurred at a party thrown by another cop. The DNA of the female officer victim was found in Sgt. Ennis’s vehicle.
On October 24th, Spokane police officer Doug Strosahl threw a party at his house with alcoholic beverages.
A female officer was at the party and eventually passed out in a drunken stupor after getting in a hot tub and having four drinks.
When the victim awoke, she found that Ennis’ hand was down her pants.
Ennis left in a hurry upon the victim waking up. Specific details of the rape have not been made available yet.
After investigators learned about the rape, warrants were executed to search Ennis’s home for DNA evidence, but that evidence was never examined because Ennis destroyed it.
Sergeant Gately had notified Ennis about the warrants ahead of time, which gave Ennis enough time to wash his clothes to destroy DNA evidence.
Ennis also cut his finger nails so short that DNA could not be retrieved. The victim’s DNA was however found in Ennis’s vehicle. Sgt. Gately is currently being investigated for his actions.
Mayor David Condon made the following statement:
“This is a disappointing day for Spokane. We hold our police officers to the highest standards of conduct, and the allegations contained in these charges fall far short of those expectations. The community expects and deserves better, and most of our officers carry out their duties with the utmost professionalism. Unfortunately, these officers have not lived up to that commitment.
“As required by the Civil Service discipline process, an internal review panel will be activated to review the felony charge. We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior and will take immediate action once the panel has made its recommendation.”
The Spokane police department has been the subject of sexual harassment in the past.
Their former police chief Frank Straub was fired in September 2015 for sexual assaulting Monique Cotton.
Cotton was the Director of Communications and Public Information for the Spokane police department.
Cotton told the Mayor that Police Chief Frank Straub “grabbed her ass, and tried to kiss her.”
Cotton was transferred to the Parks division in Spokane following the allegations.
Last month, the local newspaper, the Inlander, revealed that Mayor Condon, who had handpicked Straub as chief, attempted to coverup the accusations to not affect his upcoming reelection.
On Wednesday, Cotton was told she had to reapply for her position.
The incident forced Straub to retire from the department in September but he is still receiving his $180,000-a-year salary until the end of the year, earning him the honor of being the “city’s highest paid employee,” according to KHQ.
The mayor, meanwhile, is coming under fire for trying to hire a personal friend to oversee the investigation into Straub’s sexual assault accusations.
In 2013, the Inlander, wrote a feature story on Gately, who had just completed eight months as president of the Spokane Police Guild, where he vowed to clean up the image of the union and its officers.
In many eyes, the police guild has come to symbolize the department’s problems, stirring accusations of cronyism, dysfunction and entrenchment. Some critics have even likened the union to the mafia.
Sworn in as the new guild president on March 27, Gately hopes to redefine the guild’s image, clarify its mission and reconnect with the community it serves. He wants to remind the city of the good work police officers do every day.
But now the man who was described in that article as a “decorated 22-year veteran of the department, may be charged with rendering criminal activity, which is a felony.