Court docs: Spokane Police officer accused of rape used position to target domestic violence victims
SPOKANE, Wash — Several other women have come forward alleging inappropriate behavior by a Spokane Police Officer charged with second-degree rape, according to court documents released on the day of his first court appearance.
Nathan Nash is charged with second-degree rape and two counts of official misconduct. He’s accused of raping a woman who was the victim of a domestic violence case he was investigating.
Officer’s contact with domestic violence victim
Court documents detail the probable cause for charges, saying Nash intentionally turned off the tracking system in his car and didn’t turn on his body camera when he went to the domestic violence victim’s home to do a follow-up on her case.
The woman said she called Nash because she wanted to know where the evidence photos and paperwork ended up from her original domestic violence case. She said Nash asked to meet her in a private place to “go over the bruises on her body.”
Nash came to the woman’s apartment. According to court documents, she “tried to push the meeting out to after 11:00 am when her mother got home, but [Nash] was in a hurry and wanted to meet before her mother arrived.”
The woman told police Nash came into apartment and she went to her bedroom to get her list of questions; she said Nash followed her into the bedroom. She lowered her pants to show him a bruise on her hip; she said Nash told her to “take her pants ‘all the way down’ and bend over on the bed, which she complied with because he’s a police officer.'”
Court documents say Nash asked her to pull down her underwear. “She thought [Nash’s] directions were inappropriate, but she complied because he was a police officer.”
That’s when she said Nash penetrated her with his fingers. Court documents say that lasted for about 30 seconds and that she panicked before asking him to stop.
According to court documents, Nash made no attempt to document photos of her bruises. The woman tried to call her father before Nash left, but he did not answer.
After Nash left, the woman said she hid in her mother’s bedroom and called a friend. She told her what happened and also told her mother when she returned home.
The woman’s family took her to the hospital for a sexual assault exam kit and evidence collection.
According to court records, “she described the rape as the worst thing that has ever happened” to her.
Spokane Police and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office immediately began investigating. They pulled evidence from the system that tracks where officers’ cars are at a given time. An analyst noticed a 36-minute gap in Nash’s record. It also records a “location jump” so that Nash is never located at the woman’s apartment. The analyst described the jump as “peculiar.” Analysts say that jump is consistent with the system being turned off and restarted.
The same day the woman came forward with the complaint, detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff’s office interviewed Nash. He waived his Miranda rights and agreed to answer questions.
They asked first about his role in the initial domestic violence investigation. He admitted to them that he didn’t often follow-up on domestic violence cases. He also said he doesn’t typically take pictures at crime scenes.
According to court documents, Nash was asked about the department’s body camera policy, since he was wearing one when he arrived at the woman’s home, but he never turned it on. Nash cited the department’s body camera manual which is over 100 pages and said “there’s no way I’m gonna know all that content.”
Court documents say Nash “suggested [the victim] might be coming onto him and when he ended the sexual contact, her demeanor changed and she looked embarrassed, mad or upset.”
He said he didn’t turn on his body camera because of the “sensitive nature” of the issue.
He also admitted that he left himself dispatched on an earlier call without dispatching himself to the woman’s home. He didn’t alert anyone he was going to her home via computer, radio or cell phone.
Nash told detectives that it was the victim who moved his hands onto her private areas. He said he initially didn’t know that his hand was on her vagina because “[his] mind was not focused on what I was feeling…”
He said he didn’t remember closing out of the software that tracks his location, but that sometimes his computer reboots because of tracking issues.
Another woman comes forward
Court documents say another victim of a domestic violence incident being investigated by Nash has also come forward. Records indicate Nash gave her his personal cell phone number and told her to call him directly “because he can respond faster than calling 911.”
She said he sent her messages “complimenting her body, asking to meet, friended her on Facebook and asked for photographs [and] ‘liked’ her posted boudoir/lingerie photographs.”
That woman said Nash became “creepy” and “too needy” with his messages and requests for photographs. She said he “felt like he had a ‘hidden agenda’ of starting a relationship with her.”
Police volunteer describes inappropriate behavior
When news broke of the accusations against Nash, a police volunteer came forward with her own accusations against Nash.
She said she met Nash on several occasions through her work at a COPS substation. She said exactly a week before the alleged rape, he slipped her a note that said “text me sometime” with his personal cell phone number.
She said they started a text conversation which lasted several days. She saved the conversations and shared them with investigators.
According to court documents, one message showed Nash offering to “bring her a boost the next time he saw her at the office either by ‘caffeine or a pat on the butt.'”
“A string of messages sent by the defendant to [the volunteer] in a Jeopardy theme said ‘Things I would like to do to you for $600’ then ‘This will make you wet’ and ‘Answer: what is a naked back rub?'”
Another message said “I’m too old to play games. No need in beating around the bush. I just say exactly what is on my mind… unless I’m on body camera.”
In the messages, Nash said he and his wife still live together, but live in separate rooms and pretend to be married for the sake of their kids.
Conclusion and recommendation of charges
The court documents end with a conclusion reached by investigators that Nash should be charged with second-degree rape and two counts of official misconduct — one for each victim of domestic violence.
According to the investigating officer, “Nash used his position as a Spokane Police Officer to develop personal relationships with victims of domestic violence and has shown a common practice of giving his personal cell phone number or personal ‘app’ number to females while working as a police officer to facilitate communication that is not law enforcement related and is of a personal nature.”
Nash was arrested Friday, but was released from jail without having to pay bond the next day. He has maintained his innocence.
In court Tuesday, a judge officially charged Nash with second and third degree rape, as well as official misconduct. He pleaded not guilty to all charges. The judge maintained a $0 bond and issued Nash a sexual assault no-contact order with the woman he is accused of raping, as well as an anti-harassment no-contact order with the other domestic violence victim who accused him of acting inappropriately on the job.
At the time of this writing, Nash is still on paid administrative leave from the Spokane Police Department.
Nash will be back in court for his omnibus hearing Jan. 17 before his trial is set to begin Feb. 18.
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