A former Spokane police officer abused his position of authority and trust when he raped two women while in uniform and on duty, prosecutors said in closing arguments of his trial Monday morning, while his defense attorney argued the women accusing him of rape were not credible.
Nathan Nash, 39, is charged with multiple counts of rape, along with unlawful imprisonment, stemming from two separate attacks in 2019 reported by two women. Nash has repeatedly denied assaulting both women.
A now 41-year-old woman testified last week that Nash returned to her home the day after he responded to her report that a neighbor had physically assaulted her.
Nash called and told the woman to wear a dress so he could look at and photograph her bruises, she testified. A fellow officer testified that it was a corporal’s job to photograph injuries not the job of a patrol officer.
Once at her home, Nash pretended to look at her bruises then began sexually assaulting her, eventually pushing her onto the couch and raping her, she said.
“She was alone in her home, and he was a police officer,” said Amanda Fry, deputy prosecuting attorney.
The 41-year-old woman said she was “scared” that Nash would shoot her if she resisted. After the assault, Nash tried to take the woman to the bathroom, where she thought he would drown her, she testified. The woman ran to get away and Nash pulled her back and forced her to shower, the woman said.
Nash is charged with unlawful imprisonment for that interaction, Fry said.
The 41-year-old woman has mental health issues, which Fry argued made her more vulnerable to the assault.
Defense attorney, Wayne Fricke, argued that those mental health issues, including diagnosed bipolar schizoaffective disorder , bring her credibility into question. A feature of the disorder is delusions and hallucinations, which Fricke argued, led her to believe she was assaulted.
“She can take anything and make it up in her own mind and believe it’s true,” Fricke said.
Nash testified that he never saw the woman in person beyond responding to her initial call about the assault by her neighbor.
Nash faces two counts of rape for assaulting a then-22-year-old woman on a follow-up visit after he responded to her October 2019 report of her boyfriend beating her.
While the 22-year-old showed Nash bruises on her hip, he pulled down her pants and underwear and put his fingers inside her, the woman testified.
“This was a police officer invading her body,” Fry said.
Nash said it was the woman who came onto him, pulling his hand to her genitals.
Prosecutors argued that Nash’s explanation of events didn’t make sense because she pulled his right hand, which was his gun hand, that officers are trained to keep free and away from anyone with whom they’re interacting.
Nash also didn’t report the incident to his supervisor and left his body camera turned off during the incident without recording a reason why.
Nash’s attorney, Fricke, argued that the women’s accounts of their interactions with Nash were not credible and that prosecutors did not present enough evidence to convict Nash beyond a reasonable doubt.
Fricke said the now-25-year-old woman’s statements were inconsistent on the stand.
“If she is willing to say anything on a whim,” Fricke said, “how can you trust a person like that?”
The woman hired an attorney to represent her during the trial and when questioned said she may file a lawsuit following the trial. Fricke pointed to the lawsuit as a reason she made up the allegations.
Fry argued that the woman didn’t know who to trust after the rape and wanted someone to look out for her best interest.
“Who was she supposed to trust in the criminal justice system after she was raped by a police officer?” Fry said.
Witnesses testified that Nash closed out of a computer application that tracked his location during both assaults and that his cellphone had been reset not long before he was arrested. Prosecutors argued these actions point to Nash covering up his crimes.
Fricke said there are “innocent explanations” for those things. He reminded the jury that the prosecution has the responsibility to prove Nash committed the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.
The jury began deliberations just before noon Monday.
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