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Colville police officer pleads guilty to sex crimes

Wed., Feb. 26, 2014

A Colville police officer who followed women driving away from bars and forced them to have sex with him pleaded guilty Tuesday to multiple crimes and must register as a sex offender.

Rex Newport, 45, pleaded guilty to five criminal counts in a Stevens County courtroom Tuesday, two of them requiring the 15-year veteran of the Colville Police Department to register with the state as a sex offender. Newport also faces a jail sentence of 22 to 29 months to be handed down at a hearing in early April, the state attorney general’s office said.

Several women came forward to federal and state investigators after an incident in March 2013, when Newport showed up at a Colville resident’s apartment after the bars closed, put a gun belt around her waist, handcuffed her and had sex with her without her consent, according to court documents.

Two other women told investigators that Newport had pulled them over on suspicion of driving while drunk, then had sex with them in secluded areas before letting them go, according to court documents. A search of Newport’s patrol car computer revealed evidence he had been looking up women for purposes other than law enforcement, investigators alleged.

Newport originally faced seven criminal charges in an affidavit filed with the Stevens County Superior Court in October. The attorney general’s office handled the prosecution because of Newport’s involvement in cases handled by the Stevens County prosecutor.

Among the charges Newport pleaded to Tuesday was making a false or misleading statement to investigators. According to court documents, when faced with accusations of the sexual crimes last summer he called them “a hundred percent nonsense.” He also denied having used a condom since the early 1990s, despite DNA evidence from a used condom found at a victim’s apartment matching Newport’s.

The chances the DNA came from another man are 1 in 960 quintillion, according to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, which assisted in the investigation.

Newport also pleaded guilty to charges of residential burglary, official misconduct, first-degree custodial sexual misconduct and unlawful imprisonment with a sexual motivation, according to the attorney general’s office.

Defense attorneys tried to get the criminal charges split in motions filed late last year, claiming the burglary at the woman’s apartment and the DUI stops that led to sex were separate events, while prosecutors argued they showed a pattern of Newport using his badge to prey on women. A judge agreed with prosecutors, according to court records.

Newport was last listed on administrative leave from the Colville Police Department. The department did not immediately return a phone call requesting comment Tuesday.

Under Washington state law, an officer may have his or her certification revoked upon a felony conviction if both the Washington state Criminal Justice Training Commission and employer agree to do so.

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