A Spokane police officer charged with rape has been laid off, a department spokesman confirmed on Thursday.
Nathan Nash, 36, was arraigned on a second-degree rape charge last month after he allegedly sexually assaulted the victim of a domestic assault he was tasked with investigating in October. Nash had been on paid administrative leave since Oct. 23, the same day the victim reported the incident to police.
When the allegations against Nash became public, two other women came forward with information about how Nash had communicated with them inappropriately after exchanging cell phone numbers while he was on duty. One of the women was a victim of domestic violence, and the other volunteered for the police department, according to court documents.
Nash has not been fired, according to Sgt. Terry Preuninger, but in being laid off he no longer receives pay or benefits. The decision to lay off Nash was based on an examination of“the totality of the circumstances” by city officials, including his felony charge and a forthcoming internal investigation into the allegations.
When a city employee is formally charged with a felony, the human resources department convenes a committee comprised of the employee’s department head, an official from the human resources department and a representative from the employee’s bargaining unit, according to city policy. They, in part, determine if retaining the employee would adversely affect city public relations or be a disruption in the workplace.
“In order (for Nash) to come back to work, both of those processes would have to come to a resolution that says he can now work for us,” Preuninger said.
Nash allegedly penetrated the woman with his fingers after she lowered her pants to allow him to examine bruising on her hip, according to court documents. He was interviewing her to follow up on the reported domestic assault, which had occurred eight days earlier.
The victim reported the incident to her father, who alerted police. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the allegations.
Separately, the Spokane Police Department will launch its own investigation following criminal proceedings to determine if Nash violated department policy. The investigation was delayed because Spokane County Superior Court Commissioner John Stine ordered Nash not to discuss his case with officers, including in relation to an internal SPD investigation.
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