Former WSP lieutenant pleads not guilty to rape

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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Former Washington State Patrol Lt. Kenneth S. Garrison pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of raping a relative.

Garrison entered his plea in Clark County Superior Court to two counts of second-degree rape and three counts of first-degree incest.

His arraignment, which is a plea hearing, was postponed Wednesday when he told his attorney, Shon Bogar, that he had misgivings about entering a not guilty plea. Bogar told Judge Robert Lewis on Wednesday that he wanted time to discuss the “serious” decision with his client before Garrison’s arraignment.

On Thursday, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield read the charges, and Garrison pleaded not guilty without a pause.

Garrison, who remains in jail on $1 million bail, appeared more upbeat at Thursday’s hearing. He smiled at custody officers as he was escorted into the courtroom.

Garrison, 50, also faces possible charges in Cowlitz County, where Prosecuting Attorney Sue Baur said she is reviewing a child rape allegation against Garrison related to a 2001 incident involving a different alleged victim, who also was Garrison’s relative. Garrison was charged with the crime, but the charge was later dismissed.

In the 2001 case, a girl related to Garrison accused him of touching her private parts while she was sleeping. The girl disclosed the abuse to her mother, who alerted police, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Cowlitz County Superior Court. The girl said she knew it was Garrison because she peeked with partially closed eyes when he touched her and “felt his hairy arms,” according to the affidavit. She also said Garrison was wearing striped shorts and a basketball T-shirt when he abused her, the affidavit says.

The 2001 allegation against Garrison led to an internal investigation that ended in Garrison’s termination, State Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins said. Garrison was fired in 2003, and the state decertified him as a peace officer, Calkins said.

Garrison’s supervisor at the time reviewed the 2001 allegation and determined that there was enough proof that the sex abuse happened, Calkins said.

However, when Garrison appealed his termination, an arbitrator ruled in his favor, awarded him some back pay and ordered him back to work. He returned to duty with the State Patrol in 2008 and remained with the agency until his resignation in December, Calkins said.

Garrison retired Jan. 27 from his position as a lieutenant colonel in the Washington Army National Guard.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies arrested Garrison Jan. 29 at the Rodeway Inn and Suites, 2323 N.E. 181st Ave. in Gresham, Ore. He spent the night in the Multnomah County Jail and then was extradited to the Clark County Jail.

The State Patrol hired Garrison in 1989, Calkins said. Garrison was most recently the lieutenant responsible for supervising troopers who patrol the Southwest Washington district, which is headquartered in Vancouver.