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Tuesday, December 18, 2018  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Former WSU student charged with rape

A 23-year-old former Washington State University student has been charged with two counts of second-degree rape after he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman during a 2017 party on College Hill.

According to court documents, Thomas Culhane and the woman attended a party at Culhane’s apartment on the 900 block of Northeast Valley Road on Aug. 19, 2017. Shortly after midnight, the woman’s friends and others left the party, and Culhane allegedly sexually assaulted the woman.

According to court documents, the woman stated “she was too weak and intoxicated to push him away” during the alleged assault. The woman told police she started to scream, but Culhane “put his hand on her neck and strangled her for a few seconds.” She said she lost consciousness when he left the room, and she woke up later that morning.

Culhane, according to court documents, stated everything that happened was consensual and the woman did not push him away.

Police confirmed the woman told a friend that morning about the alleged rape.

The woman, seven of her friends who attended the party and Culhane reported the woman was drinking the night of the party. The woman was not 21 at the time.

A sexual assault exam Aug. 21, 2017, found “abrasions to the vagina/urethral area … chest soreness when she moved her arms or deep breath … a swollen area above her left breast with light bruising.” The exam also found a quarter-sized bruise on the woman’s inner thigh, near her groin.

Culhane has been charged with two counts of second-degree rape, one count of second-degree assault and one count of providing alcohol to a minor.

In Washington state, second-degree rape is a Class A felony. Second-degree rape carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Culhane is no longer a WSU student. His next court appearance is 10 a.m. Oct. 26 in Whitman County Superior Court.


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