A Spokane police sergeant was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexually assaulting another police officer at a police party in October.
Sgt. Gordon Ennis turned himself in to the Spokane County Jail about 4:20 p.m. and was booked on a charge of second-degree rape. He was released 10 minutes afterward, according to jail records.
Allegations against Ennis became public a few days after the party at the home of Officer Doug Strosahl on Oct. 25. A female police officer who attended passed out after consuming several drinks. She told investigators that she awoke in a guest bedroom to find Ennis with his hand down her pants, fondling her. She reported the incident to Strosahl before she left his home the next morning, according to court documents.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has handled the investigation into the allegations against Ennis and looked into whether Ennis was tipped off about the investigation by Spokane Police Guild President John Gately.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said the female officer’s DNA was found in Ennis’ car.
Ennis’ attorney, Rob Cossey, said his client was released from jail on his own recognizance and did not post bail.
“He’s been cooperative, contrary to other people’s opinions,” Cossey said.
Mayor David Condon released a statement Wednesday evening after Ennis’ arrest was announced.
“This is a disappointing day for Spokane,” Condon said. “We hold our police officers to the highest standards of conduct, and the allegations contained in these charges fall far short of those expectations.”
An internal review panel also will examine the case, something that happens any time a city employee is charged with a felony, city spokesman Brian Coddington said. That panel will make a recommendation on possible disciplinary action when the review is complete, which means Ennis could face discipline both from the panel and from the police department.
Knezovich also said there is probable cause that Gately warned Ennis about the investigation. Detectives have recommended charges of first-degree rendering criminal assistance and obstructing a police officer.
Knezovich said Gately’s alleged actions were outside of his role as the head of the union.
“As a former union president, I’d never dream of doing something like that,” said Knezovich, who led the Spokane County Deputy Sheriffs Association prior to becoming sheriff.
Allegations against Gately still are being reviewed by the prosecutor’s office. Prosecutor Larry Haskell said he did not know when he would complete the review of Gately’s case.
Gately’s attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.
Knezovich said there was no indication that Strosahl tampered with evidence. Court records indicated that investigators had questioned why clothes the female officer was wearing during the alleged assault, which had been left at Strosahl’s home, were washed before they were seized as evidence.
Strosahl’s attorney, Chris Bugbee, said he expected his client would be cleared.
“I and Mr. Strosahl have been waiting patiently for them to complete their investigation,” he said. “He’s very glad it’s over. It’s tough to sit at home and stew and not be allowed to work.”
Strosahl, Gately and Ennis all were placed on paid administrative leave.
Bugbee said Strosahl knows he may be disciplined if an internal investigation shows he violated department policy by not notifying his superiors about the sexual assault allegation when he first learned of it.
“That’s fine,” Bugbee said. “He’ll accept that.”
Coddington said acting police Chief Rick Dobrow will review Strosahl’s status Thursday to determine if he will remain on paid administrative leave while the internal investigation into possible policy violations continues.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.