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

Former Spokane police sergeant convicted of rape drops attorney; sentencing postponed

Former Spokane police Sgt. Gordon Ennis is switching attorneys and now will be sentenced in late May following his jury conviction of sexually assaulting a female officer.

Led into the courtroom in handcuffs, and dressed in a yellow Spokane County Jail jumpsuit, Ennis announced to Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno his intention to drop his attorney Rob Cossey, who defended the 45-year-old during trial.

Instead, he will be represented by Mark Vovos, the same lawyer who defended former Spokane Police Guild President John Gately.

Gately was accused of evidence tampering in the case against Ennis, but when tried in 2016, a jury was deadlocked and a judge declared a mistrial. The state opted not to retry him on the misdemeanor charge of obstructing a law enforcement officer.

Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald objected to Vovos representing both men.

“This is a glaring conflict that needs to be vetted,” she said. “The state is at quite a disadvantage in this situation.”

Judge Moreno agreed, and set a hearing on May 11 to address the potential conflict. The sentencing hearing was delayed to May 25. Vovos originally requested 60 days to prepare for sentencing.

A jury of five women and seven men convicted Ennis last month of second-degree rape after two hours of deliberation.

Prosecutors said Ennis, who at the time was a sergeant at the department and the victim’s former firearms instructor, raped a then-reserve officer in Colbert in October 2015, at a house party hosted by Officer Doug Strosahl.

Gately was suspended a month without pay following an internal police investigation. That suspension was reduced to one week after appeal.

Strosahl was accused of dodging investigators the day and night after the rape was reported by other department employees. In trial, the officer testified that he was told of the rape the morning it happened, but failed to notify anyone. Later that night, he ignored phone calls and knocks at the door by Spokane County sheriff’s deputies.

Strosahl is currently under an internal affairs investigation, said police Chief Craig Meidl.