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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Fairchild senior airman accused of assaulting a woman and teen with ‘sexual motivation’ near Manito Park arrested

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 27, 2022

Two females reported being assaulted by a man in the area of the Gaiser Conservatory in Manito Park in recent days, and Spokane police announced an arrest in the case Thursday.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)
Two females reported being assaulted by a man in the area of the Gaiser Conservatory in Manito Park in recent days, and Spokane police announced an arrest in the case Thursday. (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

A 26-year-old senior airman at Fairchild Air Force Base was arrested Thursday at the base for allegedly assaulting a woman and a girl last week near Manito Park.

Devontaye T. Harden was booked into the Spokane County Jail on suspicion of two counts of fourth-degree assault with a “sexual motivation” enhancement to be sought, according to a Spokane Police Department news release. His bond is set at $1,000, according to the Spokane County Jail inmate roster.

“The Air Force and Fairchild Air Force Base take these allegations very seriously,” according to a statement from the base. “Behavior of this kind has no place in our ranks. We emphasize a culture of respect and uphold our Airmen to high standards.”

It’s unclear if Harden is still an airman.

The two females told police Harden rapidly approached, groped an intimate area of their bodies and ran away on Jan. 20, the release said. One victim was an adult and the other was an underage teenager.

Police deployed undercover assets to the Manito Park area, officers said. The following day, undercover officers contacted Harden and determined he was a person of interest.

The news release said these incidents are “extremely rare” in Spokane.

The alleged assaults come on the heels of several people reporting a naked man jogging last year in the Minnehaha Park area, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Spokane police Cpl. Nick Briggs said in a text message that, to his knowledge, Harden is not a suspect in the Minnehaha Park incidents.

The jogger, described as a tall man with brown hair and an athletic build, was first spotted last summer in the Beacon Hill and Minnehaha Park areas, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

In December, a woman was running hill repeats before sunrise wearing a headlamp when she noticed the man running wearing just arm sleeves, shoes and a headlamp. She passed the man several times , each time his actions became more sexual in nature, she told the sheriff’s office.

Anyone with information on the naked jogger should contact Det. Brad Humphrey at (509) 477-3028.

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