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

New details emerge in police sexual assault case

Investigators looking to collect trace evidence from under the fingernails of a Spokane police officer suspected of sexually assaulting a fellow officer were unable to do so because Sgt. Gordon Ennis’ nails had recently been clipped short, new court documents say.

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detectives filed documents this week containing new details regarding suspected interference into their investigation.

A female police officer reported she passed out at a party on Oct. 24 hosted by fellow Spokane police Officer Doug Strosahl at his home. She awoke in a guest bedroom to find Ennis with his hands down her pants, fondling her, court documents say.

Investigators are concerned that Ennis received a tip that they were seeking a search warrant for his DNA. Investigators also said Strosahl may have tampered with evidence by washing the borrowed clothing that the woman was wearing at the time of the alleged assault.

New search warrant affidavits filed in the case allege the woman told Strosahl about the alleged assault before she left his home on the morning of Oct. 25. He responded that he didn’t know what to do, then left the room, according to the new court documents.

Strosahl refused to provide the names of people who had attended his party to investigators, according to court documents.

A friend of the woman also was at the party, and was sober. She left the party after the woman had passed out in the guest bedroom, but returned the next morning to pick her up. The friend told police Ennis was sitting in the room with the woman when she left.

Investigators wrote in court documents that Ennis’ attorney, Rob Cossey, contacted them the morning of Oct. 26 and said he was aware Ennis was a suspect and that there was a search warrant for his DNA. At the time of Cossey’s call, the search warrant was still being written and had not been filed, and no one from the Sheriff’s Office had attempted to contact Ennis, according to court documents.

Investigators met with Ennis at Cossey’s office that afternoon for the purpose of serving the warrant, according to court documents. They also planned to collect trace evidence from under Ennis’ fingernails.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said any decision on possible charges against Ennis and Strosahl likely won’t happen for a couple of weeks. Investigators are trying to determine whether someone passed information to Ennis, Knezovich said, and they’re waiting for results from evidence testing at the Washington State Patrol crime lab.

“We’ve asked the state to expedite the processing of evidence,” Knezovich said.

Cossey and Chris Bugbee, Strosahl’s attorney, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.