April 2, 2005 in City

Sisters say they weren’t raped

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Charges were dropped Friday against a man accused last week of pretending to be a police officer and raping adult twin sisters.

Preston R. Tensley, 34, had been charged March 25 with two counts each of first-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping, and one count each of first-degree burglary and first-degree criminal impersonation.

The 26-year-old sisters, Connie Moran and Joyce Wicke, said in an interview Friday night that they were ignored by investigators when they told them that they were not raped, harmed or threatened by Tensley. They said they were shocked on March 25 when they saw on TV that Tensley had been charged with crimes that could have locked him behind bars for life.

Spokane Police Lt. Dean Sprague said he’s not sure why the sisters say they weren’t raped, but said the investigation was handled professionally.

“Connie has chosen not to be a victim. We were under the understanding that she was,” Sprague said. “We took every word that she said, documented them and investigated.”

The sisters said they are not motivated by any fears about testifying. However, Wicke said she got a call to her cell phone Tuesday night from an unidentified person who said, “Snitches get stitches.”

Tensley declined a request for a jailhouse interview before he was released Friday.

Moran said she met Tensley about two months ago. On March 21, the night police alleged the rapes occurred, she invited Tensley to her home and had consensual sex with him sometime during the evening, Moran said.

Moran said Tensley never pretended to be a police officer and did not show a badge, as police reports say. She said she saw him carrying a gun, but that he put it in his car because she didn’t want it in the house.

Moran said she saw his concealed weapons permit, which said “Spokane Police Department,” when she went through his wallet. But she knew it wasn’t an ID card.

Wicke said she has never had sexual contact with Tensley, but told police she did after investigators pressured her.

“I was so tired and aggravated,” Wicke said. “I was plugging my ears, saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, whatever’ … Now I just wish I would have answered their questions.”

Sprague said detectives never pressured the sisters to lie. If police believe they maliciously lied, they could face charges of filing a false police report.

“What we did, we did in good faith,” Sprague said.

The women said they called police two mornings after the alleged attack because they heard someone breaking into a friend’s car, which was parked behind their home.

They said detectives began to focus on Tensley when they learned during the car-prowling investigation that he had been at their house. Moran said that after police had been at the home for several hours, she was taken to police headquarters for questioning.

Police told them they suspected Tensley of impersonating a police officer on previous occasions, the women said.

“(One of the detectives) kept saying, ‘We want him for life. We want him for life,’ ” Moran said.

Police reports indicated the women did not know Tensley and that Tensley came to the door pretending to be a police officer.

However, on Friday, Moran played a voicemail message dated two weeks before the alleged rapes. The voice on the tape, she said, is Tensley’s. Since they knew each other, she said, there would have been no reason for him to impersonate an officer.


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