Police investigate rape in Highlands home

April 13, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

Issaquah police are investigating whether a Medina police officer raped a woman he arrested during a traffic stop late last year. The alleged assault occurred at the officer’s Issaquah Highlands home, according to court documents.The officer asked the woman on a date and took her to his home several days after the traffic stop on state Route 520. He had cited her for driving with a suspended license and possession of a small amount of marijuana. He told her he could have the charges against her dismissed, according to court documents. 

He later sent three e-mails to city prosecutors asking for the case to be dismissed due to a lack of evidence. Court documents said he sent an e-mail to prosecutors in December that said, “In almost four years, I don’t think I’ve ever asked you guys to dismiss charges and I don’t plan on making a habit of it, but can we dismiss the charges in this case? I wouldn’t even feel right going to court in testifying in this case.”

The investigation is ongoing; police have not arrested anyone. The Issaquah Press is withholding the officer’s name because he has not been charged with a crime. 

The case involving the Medina officer has not been referred to the King County Prosecutor’s Office, spokesman Dan Donohoe said.

The incident came to the attention of police last month during another sexual assault investigation. The woman told police her boyfriend had assaulted her. A King County Sheriff’s Office detective overheard the boyfriend say on the phone that the woman “didn’t report the cop for raping her.” 

When the detective asked the woman about the earlier incident, she recounted the traffic stop and the date with the Medina officer. The detective then handed the case off to Issaquah police, because the woman said the incident occurred in the highlands. 

The 30-year-old officer is being investigated for third-degree rape and official misconduct, according to a search warrant for his mobile phone records. Issaquah police interviewed the woman last month and obtained the warrant April 2. 

After Issaquah officers told him about the investigation, Medina Police Chief Jeff Chen said he “immediately placed the officer on paid administrative leave.”

Neither the officer nor the woman could be reached for comment.

According to the warrant, the woman said the officer stopped her Nov. 23. He handcuffed her and put her in the back of his patrol car. He then searched her vehicle and discovered a small bag of what he suspected was marijuana. When he completed the search, he returned to his patrol car. He adjusted her scarf and “put his hand on her.” He also told the woman “she was attractive and beautiful.”

She told him she had paid the ticket for the suspended license charge. She then told him she did not want to be charged for the marijuana. He told her not to worry because the charge would go away. He cited and released her.

He called her the next morning and asked to meet at Joker Pub & Grill, 5614 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E. He told the woman he would show her a letter to prosecutors about dismissing the charges.

She met him several days later. He told her he was attracted to her and invited her to his home in the highlands. She agreed, but told him she would not have sex with him on the first date.

At his home, he poured a drink for her and told her people are scared of police officers because “they have power and authority, and a gun and a badge.” He then put his gun on a table; the woman told police she felt the officer was trying to intimidate her with the gesture.

He offered her a tour of his home. When they reached the bedroom, he pushed her onto the bed, held her hands above her head and straddled her. She told him she did not want to have sex, and he replied, “You don’t really mean that.” He then raped her.

She told police she contacted the officer each time she went to court. She asked when the charges would be dismissed. The officer called her phone nine times between Nov. 24 and Feb. 9, according to the warrant.

Her boyfriend later went through her phone records to determine who was sending her text messages. He then deleted the messages.

Charges against the woman were dropped Feb. 9 due to issues with the evidence. The officer said he did not send the evidence to the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory because there was not enough of the suspected marijuana to test, according to the warrant. 

The warrant said the officer sent an e-mail to the Medina evidence custodian Dec. 9 that said, “I talked to the prosecutor and they’re going to drop the marijuana part of the case, so it doesn’t need to get tested.”

Issaquah police obtained the suspected marijuana that was part of the assault investigation. Investigators said the substance tested positive as marijuana, according to the warrant.

“We are conducting an investigation and it is still ongoing,” Issaquah Police Chief Paul Ayers said. He declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation.

Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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