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

Police Guild president suspected of tipping off sexual assault suspect

Investigators say the president of the Spokane Police Guild called Sgt. Gordon Ennis at least twice in the early stages of the sexual assault investigation involving Ennis, according to new court documents.

Guild President Sgt. John Gately is under investigation for rendering criminal assistance and obstructing a law enforcement officer. The investigation is being conducted by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

A female police officer attended a party hosted by fellow Officer Doug Strosahl on Oct. 25. She said she passed out and woke up in a guest bedroom to find Ennis sitting next to her with his hand down her pants, fondling her, according to court records.

The woman told Strosahl about the incident before she left his home the next morning and notified her superiors later that day, according to court documents. Gately was notified of the accusation at the same time as police department administrators.

There are indications that Gately used his personal cellphone to call several people involved in the investigation, including Ennis, investigators say in court records. Investigators say it also has been “proven” that Gately used his work cellphone to talk to police department personnel about the investigation, according to court documents.

Investigators said early in their investigation into the alleged sexual assault that it appeared Ennis had been tipped off about the investigation. Sheriff’s Office detectives were seeking a search warrant for Ennis’ cellphone records and DNA, and his lawyer contacted investigators about the warrant before it had even been written, according to court documents.

Strosahl is under investigation for possibly tampering with evidence. The borrowed clothing the female officer was wearing at the time of the alleged assault was washed before it was turned over to investigators. Strosahl also did not notify anyone at the department of the woman’s accusation, according to court records.

Gately has since hired a lawyer, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said.

“He wouldn’t talk to us,” Knezovich said of Gately. “That’s his right.”

Gately’s attorney, David Allen, said his client is a highly respected law enforcement professional.

“He was the union president,” Allen said. “Certainly it’s appropriate and proper for someone in his position to talk to an employee.”

Accusations that Gately hindered the investigation in any way are baseless, Allen said. “This county investigation of Sgt. Gately is essentially calculated to interfere with his constitutionally protected activities as the police union president.”

Ennis, Strosahl and Gately are all on paid administrative leave.