Aug. 23 — Spokane Police Officer Nathan Nash knocked on a woman’s door in July 2019 after she reported that her neighbor had physically assaulted her. The woman was crying.
Days later, Nash returned to take pictures of the woman’s injuries and raped her, she told police.
Body camera footage of that initial interaction was shown in court Monday during Nash’s trial on multiple counts of rape, official misconduct and wrongful imprisonment. The charges stem from alleged assaults against two women in separate incidents in 2019.
In the second incident in October 2019, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office began investigating Nash after a woman reported that she had been sexually assaulted during a follow-up investigation into her report that her boyfriend had physically assaulted her. Nash was arrested a few days later and fired from the police department in December 2019.
The woman from the July 2019 case came forward in 2021 when she called to check on the progress of the investigation into the assault she reported on her neighbor.
Spokane Police Officer Daniel Morley testified Monday he and Nash responded to the report of the alleged assault in July 2019. Nash was the “primary” contact with the woman and asked her questions about the incident, he said Morley. The video was played without sound in court Monday morning.
At one point early in the video, Nash can be seen touching the victim’s head and hair, looking for wounds, Morley said. Examining a victim for injuries is common practice, Morley said, but most officers wear gloves as a sign of professionalism and for hygiene reasons.
After speaking with the woman, Nash and Morley went to the neighbor’s apartment, where Morley interviewed the alleged assailant, according to the body camera footage.
Without telling Morley, Nash left and returned to the woman’s apartment, Morley said.
While alone with the woman, Nash’s body camera captured him touching her chin and turning it, lifting her shirt and sliding his hand down her leg while looking for injuries.
After a few minutes, Morley returned and the couple left.
Morley said he didn’t see any inappropriate behavior from Nash while in the room, but thought it odd that Nash wasn’t wearing gloves.
The woman told investigators that Nash returned alone a few days later and raped her.
After Morley’s testimony Monday, prosecutors called witnesses to discuss the other alleged assault reported in October 2019. In that case, a woman told investigators that Nash returned to her apartment alone after initially responding to a call of domestic violence involving her boyfriend. While there, she pointed out that Nash had bruises on her hip, she said. Nash pulled down her pants and inserted his fingers inside her, the victim testified last week. The Ombudsman generally does not name victims of sexual abuse.
Washington State Medical Examiner Mark Zenker testified that he found DNA matching the October 2019 victim in swabs from Nash’s palm and his notebook, but found no DNA matching the victim in Nash’s fingernail clippings . Nash’s DNA was not found on swabs from the woman’s sexual assault kit either, Zenker said.
DNA expert Lorraine Heath testified that it is unusual to find DNA from a digital penetration under someone’s fingernails or hands if the person’s DNA scan has been delayed.
Nine hours passed from the time the woman reported the assault to the time Nash’s hand was swabbed. During that time, Heath said, most people wash their hands and come in contact with a lot of other things, causing the DNA to be transferred or removed, making detection difficult.
Heath said it’s common for DNA left behind by digital penetration to be overwhelmed by other DNA present in the vagina and not be detectable.
Testimony in Nash’s case is set to resume Tuesday. The trial is scheduled to continue next week.