News

Teen accuses law enforcement officers of sexual misconduct

PULLMAN, Wash - A young woman made a complaint to Washington State University last month, saying she was sexually assaulted by two law enforcement officers in Pullman. 

A police report says the woman was seen walking on Campus Street early in the morning on March 31. A WSU Police sergeant said she was seen "staggering between the railings for the stairs and attempted to grab a hold of the railings, however she was unsuccessful."

The officer noted the woman appeared to be intoxicated and had slurred speech. She told the officer she had two drinks, but also said she had been contacted by police earlier in the evening for drinking alcohol. According to court records, the sergeant said the woman "started to cry and stated she would do anything to get out of the issue... [She] said if [the sergeant] got mad at her, then her parents would get extra mad at her."

The officer informed her she would be cited and watched her return to her building.

That WSUPD sergeant then spoke with the Pullman Police sergeant who had contact with the woman earlier in the evening. The Pullman officer said he provided a courtesy transport back to her dorm. 

A week later, court documents say the woman notified WSU's Office for Equal Opportunity that she wanted to make an allegation of sexual misconduct against a police officer. According to the court records, "the complainant indicated the alleged crime may have taken place in the back of a police vehicle." 

According to court records, the crime lab processed the two police vehicles. The record states that "numerous areas were swabbed in both vehicles and all of them tested negative for semen." 

The Washington State Patrol is now investigating. The detective has requested a search warrant to "obtain all the necessary documents from the departments and offices within WSU in order to complete a thorough investigation, to include understanding the original complaint and establish a timeline for all parties involved." 

Both accused officers have been placed on administrative leave. The investigation right now is into the criminal allegations, its likely internal investigations will follow when that is finished.

"The police department is put in a waiting mode, just like the rest of the citizens," said Commander Chris Tennant, with Pullman Police Department, "we want to know what happened."

"We just ask no one jump to conclusions," said Assistant Chief Steve Hansen, with WSU Police Department.

Washington State University officials say they appreciate the two police departments using Washington State Patrol as the primary investigators. They say the school will be cooperating fully and will provide support and resources to the student as the investigation continues.


LOCAL AND REGIONAL NEWS

THIS WEEK'S CIRCULARS