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Sept. 26, 2022

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Spokane cop accused of rape told investigators his accuser instigated improper contact

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SPOKANE — Former Spokane officer Nathan Nash told investigators that he concluded his follow-up interview with the woman accusing him of rape the moment after she guided his hand onto her genitals, according to a video interview prosecuting attorneys showed jurors in court on Thursday.

In the video, Nash, then 36 years old, told Spokane County Sheriff’s Office investigators that during his visit to the woman’s apartment on Oct. 23, 2019, the then-22-year-old woman led him to her bedroom, where she pulled down her pants and underwear to show him bruising on her hip from a domestic violence call he responded to the previous week. That’s when she unexpectedly took his hand and put it on her genitals, he told sheriff’s office detectives Rob Satake and Nate Bohanek.

The victim of the alleged sexual assault refuted those claims in an emotional testimony on Wednesday. In her own retelling of the incident, the woman, now 25, had been trying to get in touch with Nash, now 39, in an attempt to provide additional evidence from the domestic violence incident he had responded to. She was showing him the bruising on her body when he put his fingers inside of her without her consent, she said.

“I was terrified. I was stone,” she said in testimony on Wednesday. “I didn’t know what to do, what to think.”

Nash faces two counts of rape in the second and third degrees, as well as unlawful imprisonment, which also stem from an alleged rape in July 2019. More women came forward after his initial arrest in November 2019. Records revealed that there had been previous concerns with Nash’s behavior on domestic violence cases.

He was employed at the police department for less than two years and was laid off in December 2019.

In the video showed to jurors on Thursday, investigators asked Nash if it was unusual for someone who wasn’t a law enforcement officer to guide his hand while he was on duty. The woman told him to “feel this” when she took his hand, he said. He then removed his hand and told her, “we’re done,” he told investigators.

“I would say she was coming onto me and when I rejected that, her behavior changed,” he said.

Nash did not tell anyone else about the incident on Oct. 23. The sheriff’s office investigation began later that day.

Due to the nature of the call, Nash said the woman asked him not to record on his body camera.

“People’s actions and behaviors and things they want to say can change whether they’re being video taped,” he told the investigators as to the reason he didn’t activate the camera.

Prosecutors argued that Nash defied Spokane Police Department policy by failing to activate the body camera, they said during opening arguments on Wednesday. They also said he defied policy when he failed to record his whereabouts with dispatch.

Part of the trial on Thursday focused on the validity of the DNA evidence collected from Nash, as well as the possibility that he may have destroyed evidence by washing his hands after the incident.

Holy Family staff who handled the woman’s case and a number of law enforcement officers from the Spokane Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office testified throughout Thursday.

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