Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Women say fake officer raped them

 (The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane police have arrested a man they believe raped two women after gaining entry into their North Side residence by pretending to be a police officer.

The victims told investigators that their attacker came to their door about 10 p.m. Monday and said he was a Spokane police officer. He showed them a wallet with a silver badge and an identification card that said Spokane Police Department, according to court records.

“As far as we know, they thought he was a real cop,” said police spokesman Dick Cottam.

Preston R. Tensley, 34, was arrested Thursday and faces two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, a count of first-degree criminal impersonation and a count of first-degree burglary. After he was arraigned Friday, he remained in jail on a $500,000 bond.

In court records, Tensley denies the allegations and says he had consensual sex with the women.

Their attacker said he was conducting an investigation and knew personal information about at least one of them, the women said. He also wanted them to lead him to a person they both know, court records show.

The attacker pointed a gun at one of the women and demanded she get into his car to help him find the person he sought, they said. He directed the other woman to remain in constant contact with them by phone.

When the man returned to the home with the first woman about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, he took her into a room, questioned her about her friends and eventually raped her, the records show. While the first woman was being raped, the second woman tried to open the bedroom door several times. He later forced the second victim into the bedroom and raped her, too, the women told police.

The women remembered seeing the name Preston on the ID he showed them, and Tensley was identified from a phone call he made to their home, court records indicate.

Police showed the women a photo lineup.

“They both immediately picked him out from similar-looking people,” Cottam said.

Tensley told police after his arrest that he mistakenly dropped one of his guns at the women’s home. He also said he dropped his concealed weapons permit, which has “Spokane Police Department” printed on it.

Police said Tensley has ties with gangs, but he denied gang affiliations at his arraignment Friday.

Tensley, who does not have a felony record, works at Travis Pattern & Foundry Inc. north of Spokane. Company officials declined to comment Friday.

Cottam said this kind of impersonation is rare in Spokane. Anyone uncertain about the identity of a police officer should examine the person’s identification and badge, Cottam said.

“It’s not just a tin badge from Cracker Jack,” Cottam said.

If they’re still uncertain, they can call 911 and ask if a police officer is supposed to be there, he said.

“You should use common sense and know who you’re dealing with,” Cottam said.