The former Spokane Police Guild president accused of tipping off a fellow officer about a sexual assault investigation pleaded not guilty to felony charges Monday.
Prosecutors charged Sgt. John Gately with rendering criminal assistance and obstructing a law enforcement officer Dec. 4. Investigators believe Gately told police Sgt. Gordon Ennis about their investigation into accusations that Ennis sexually assaulted a fellow officer during a party in October before detectives served a search warrant to collect Ennis’ DNA and cellphone records.
Ennis has since pleaded not guilty to a rape charge.
Gately’s attorney, David Allen, said the charges are without merit and that Gately’s duties as guild president include notifying officers of allegations against them and advising them of their rights.
“Our defense is going to be very, very clear that John did nothing wrong,” Allen said. “There was no prohibition anywhere for him to discuss things with police officers involved.”
Gately had been told of the Ennis investigation by police officials so he could contact the alleged victim, who was a fellow officer, to provide support, court documents say.
Allen also has filed a motion asking the prosecutor to file a “bill of particulars” detailing the charges against Gately, saying the existing information “is basically bare bones and devoid of details.”
In Washington, six separate actions are included in the law against rendering criminal assistance, including harboring someone sought by law enforcement and warning someone of impending discovery or apprehension. Allen’s motion said it’s unclear which portion or portions of the law his client is accused of violating.
Gately will be booked into jail and released on his own recognizance later this week. Prosecutor Mary Ann Brady said his release conditions include staying in Idaho or Washington and not discussing the case with any local law enforcement officers from any agency other than his wife, who is a Spokane police officer.
The city placed Gately on unpaid leave shortly after charges were filed. Gately was removed as guild president as of Dec. 8. Sgt. John Griffin will serve as president until the union’s next officer election, Griffin said in an email.
Gately’s trial is set for March 14.
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