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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Prosecutor declines to file charges against Spokane police officer accused of attempted sexual assault due to statute of limitations

Nov. 3, 2022 Updated Fri., Nov. 4, 2022 at 2:51 p.m.

The Lincoln County prosecutor declined to file charges last week against a Spokane police officer accused of attempting to sexually assault a Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy, due to the statute of limitations.

Officer Andrew Richmond was placed on administrative leave in July after an anonymous letter was sent to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detailing what the writer described as the sexual assault of a female deputy, according to investigative documents obtained by The Spokesman-Review.

The deputy confirmed the contents of the letter to her supervisors and said it was Richmond who had assaulted her.

The sheriff’s office asked the Pullman Police Department to investigate.

The deputy told investigators that she, Richmond and mutual friends planned to go out for drinks to celebrate Richmond leaving the Sheriff’s Office to go to the Spokane Police Department.

The mutual friends ended up staying home, so Richmond and the deputy went out for drinks and ended up going back to her home.

Richmond went up to the deputy’s bedroom uninvited to see what he was doing and handcuffed her to her computer, she told investigators. She also said Richmond aggressively came on to her, and that she resisted. Eventually she freed herself from the handcuffs and kicked Richmond out of her home, she said.

The deputy didn’t report the incident but shared her experience when asked by investigators.

Richmond’s attorney did not respond to request for comment. Richmond declined to speak with investigators in the case. In text messages between Richmond and the deputy obtained by investigators, Richmond said he’s not the kind of person to force himself on someone.

Following the investigation, Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell asked Lincoln County Prosecutor Adam Walser to evaluate the case due to a conflict of interest.

Walser reviewed the case and declined to prosecute last week because the statute of limitations on the applicable charges had run out, he said in an Oct. 25 letter to Haskell obtained by The Spokesman-Review through a public records request.

In reviewing the police investigation, Walser concluded there was probable cause to accuse Richmond of unlawful imprisonment and fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation.

Fourth-degree assault is a gross misdemeanor which has a two-year statute of limitations. The alleged assault occurred in 2019.

Unlawful imprisonment, a class C felony, usually has a three-year statute of limitations, but there are exceptions to that rule, including if the felony was committed by a public officer.

For this exception to apply, Walser wrote in his letter that Richmond would have needed to be bound by his oath of office at the time of the assault. Richmond had left the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office six days before the incident and didn’t start work at the Spokane Police Department until several weeks later, Walser said.

Richmond wasn’t a public official at any law enforcement agency at the time of the assault, leading Walser to conclude the statute of limitations could not be extended.

Walser also concluded there was not enough evidence to charge Richmond with either attempted rape in the second degree by forcible compulsion or indecent liberties.

Richmond said in a lawsuit he left the sheriff’s office due to retaliation after he reported a co-worker, Jeffrey Thurman, used a racial slur on duty. Thurman is also suing the sheriff’s office and was interviewed about his knowledge of the sexual assault allegations against Richmond.

The Spokane Police Department plans to conduct their own internal affairs investigation, said Cpl. Nick Briggs, a department spokesman. Richmond will remain on leave during that investigation.

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