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Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Police: Rape suspect posed as cop

Woman says attacker claimed to be investigating rapists

Christopher M. Clough (Spokane Police Department)
Christopher M. Clough (Spokane Police Department)

A man accused of raping a 19-year-old woman in a Spokane park early Saturday claimed to be a police officer, then told her he would take her to jail for illegally possessing alcohol if she didn’t have sex with him, police said Monday.

According to police, Christopher M. Clough, 29, met the woman, who had been walking on Monroe Street, at about 1 a.m. in the McDonald’s parking lot at Monroe Street and Indiana Avenue, where he told her he was investigating rapists and offered to give her a ride home.

Believing Clough was an undercover officer, the woman got in his car but was soon handcuffed by Clough, who pointed to a cup of alcohol she was carrying and said she wouldn’t go to jail “if I gave him a piece of me,” the woman told police.

Clough told the woman he needed to search her and drove to Corbin Park, 401 W. Waverly Place, where he raped her, police said.

Police take impersonation cases extremely seriously, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

“Police officers have the power to take someone’s life. We don’t take it lightly,” DeRuwe said. “We tell people over and over again, ‘Just do what the police officers tell you to do.’ … This girl does what he tells her to do, and she becomes a victim of sexual assault.”

Police believe Clough may have more victims and are urging them to file police reports. Detectives are especially interested in talking to a couple whom the alleged victim said Clough was “interviewing” when she met him in the parking lot, DeRuwe said.

“I find it hard to believe that he just started this and gets caught the first time,” DeRuwe said. “He may not have sexually assaulted other people, but he may have tried to pretend to be a cop.”

The woman said she did not scream because she was afraid Clough would kill her.

“She believed that the defendant had a weapon since he was a police officer,” according to a police affidavit. “She believed she would ‘end up dead’ if she did not comply with his demands.”

DeRuwe urged anyone suspicious of an officer to ask for identification, or to call 911 for verification.

Superior Court Judge Michael Price ordered Clough to stay in Spokane County Jail on $100,000 bond after he appeared in court on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree criminal impersonation.

Clough’s criminal history includes a felony conviction in Asotin County in 1999 for second-degree theft. He also has a felony conviction in Nez Perce County in 2003 for passing a check with insufficient funds, and he has convictions as a juvenile for theft, malicious mischief, car theft and vehicle prowling. He’s also spent time in prison in Montana, according to court records.

Clough has felony convictions in Spokane County for second-degree theft and unlawful issuance of bank checks. Court documents show he passed a series of bad checks at several Spokane County businesses.

Clough said he had warrants out for his arrest on Sunday when contacted by police during a traffic stop at Standard Street and Augusta Avenue just after 2 a.m.

Police had been following him for several blocks after the woman provided a detailed description.

A pair of handcuffs was on his passenger seat when police stopped him. Clough initially told police he’d had sex with the woman in the past but that nothing happened that night.

He eventually admitted to giving the woman a ride and having sex with her in Corbin Park, but he said the sex was consensual.

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