Victim advocacy group talks abuse of power in light of Nash arrest

SPOKANE, Wash. — On Wednesday morning, former Spokane police officer Nathan Nash was arrested and booked into jail for a second rape charge. In light of this, victim advocacy groups urge people to reach out if they’re in need.

In court documents, the victim went to police a month ago. She says the incident happened in July of 2019.

The victim said she needed help from being assaulted by a neighbor. She called police and Nash was one of the two Spokane Police officers who went to the call.

Nash gave her a victim’s crime card with his number on the back. The next day, the victim said he called her, saying he was coming by to take pictures.

Court documents say Nash told her to wear a dress. When he came by, the victim said he sexually assaulted her.

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The victim told investigators at the time of the alleged assault that she was afraid to fight him. “He had his uniform and gun on and everything,” she said.

Erin Williams, the director of Lutheran Community Services Northwest says sexual abuse and harassment are crimes that are “facilitated by power and control.”

“That’s really the motivation behind it is—’How do I have power over somebody?'” Williams said. “In this case, it’s a law enforcement officer, it’s a person in uniform. It’s a person with a weapon, but that’s not always the case with every sexual assault survivor. All of those things definitely lead to a power difference.”

Williams said people who want to assault people will seek out a profession where they can get access to people.

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“We’ve seen this time and time again,” she said. “It is scary, it is frightening. Most often it’s somebody we trust and let into our home that’s the most dangerous to us.”

The victim ended up coming forward last month when she had to call police and check the status on the other assault she originally called about.

Williams said everyone responds to trauma differently, and that some may take longer to reach out for help.

“Everyone has their own journey for healing, for justice, and whatever is right for them,” Williams said. “I would never say that it is the fault of somebody for not getting help earlier. Not everybody knows what’s available for them for help.”

Williams said if a person has been harmed, they should check out a medical professional to check on their physical and mental health.

Coming forward, in instances of abuses of power, Williams said there are practices in place to investigate.

She says in this situation, she was inspired that the survivor was believed and that it was reported and investigated.

“It devastating when someone takes advantage of the kind of power and authority that we place with them, particularly when that person is a law enforcement officer ,a person we listen to for safety and security,” Williams said. “Thankfully, most law enforcement officers aren’t going to commit an act like this. I’m sorry for every other law enforcement officer who has to shoulder the weight of this kind of event. Most importantly, I’m sorry for the victims and I’m sorry for the kind of mistrust that an event like this creates in the system.”

If you are in need of help, Williams says to reach out. They have advocates who can be there at any time if someone is in need. She added that people lean on their friends and family in traumatic times.

“They’re such an important part of our healing process,” Williams said. “We all know that the right issue when somebody comes to us, it’s our job to say that we believe them, that we’re going to let investigators do their job, but our job as friends and family members is to believe survivors, to love them and to tell them they deserve to be safe and healthy.”

Here’s where you can get help:
Resources For Assault Dv Victims