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Suspect in jail after alleged weekend rape

TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2010, 6:42 P.M.

A Spokane man is accused of raping a woman last weekend at an upscale downtown hotel.

Benjamin F. Cooper, 25, was arrested early Saturday after the alleged victim said he attacked her in a room she’d rented with her boyfriend at the Davenport Hotel Tower.

The woman and her boyfriend met Cooper at a bar, and the woman asked Cooper to walk her back to her hotel when her boyfriend wanted to stay out, according to court documents filed in Superior Court this week.

The woman claims Cooper walked into her hotel room uninvited, then slapped and punched her before he raped her.

Cooper remains in Spokane County Jail on $200,000 bail Tuesday evening after refusing to attend his court hearing for the second day in a row, said Superior Court Judge Michael Price.

Along with first-degree rape, Cooper faces a first-degree robbery charge after the woman said he stole her cell phone and cash and ripped the phone cords out of the wall.

Video surveillance shows Cooper and the woman entering the hotel at 10:37 p.m. Friday and getting on an elevator. Cooper is then seen leaving the hotel alone at 11:12 p.m.

“The defendant appears to be holding something in one of his hands,” according to a probable cause affidavit prepared by police. “He appears to be in a hurry as he is walking quickly.”

Police were called to the hotel about 12:10 a.m. and arrested Cooper on Howard Street between Sprague Avenue and 1st Avenue about 1:30 a.m.

Police said the woman had bruising on her face and red marks on her neck.

Cooper reportedly told police the couple bought him a beer at a bar, but that he went to his “baby mama’s house” before returning to downtown.

When police told Cooper they knew he’d walked a woman to the hotel Davenport, he said he’d only kissed her goodnight, . “He denied going in her room or assaulted her in any way,” according to the affidavit.

The woman is from Idaho and her boyfriend is from Alaska; they were in Spokane for a wedding.

Cooper has an extensive criminal record beginning in at least 1999, including 12 assault convictions (three felonies and nine misdemeanors). His most recent conviction was in May when he was credited for 38 days served in jail for conspiracy to possess drugs, documents show. He served eight months in prison in 2008 for theft, burglary and third-degree assault, according to the Department of Corrections.

Spokane County Jail employees did not respond to a request to interview Cooper.

A spokesman for the Davenport directed questions to police. Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said the case is under investigation.

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