Jurors begin deliberations in the trial of former Spokane police officer accused of rape

Aug. 30—A former Spokane police officer abused his position of power and trust when he raped two women while in uniform and on duty, prosecutors said at the end of his trial Monday morning, as his defense attorney supported the women who accusing him of rape were not credible.

Nathan Nash, 39, is charged with multiple counts of rape, along with false imprisonment, stemming from two separate assaults in 2019 reported by two women. Nash has repeatedly denied assaulting both women.

A woman, now 41, 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 put on 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 a patrolman’s job.

Once at her home, Nash pretended to look at her bruises and began sexually assaulting her, eventually pushing her onto the couch and raping her, she said.

“She was home alone and he was a police officer,” said Amanda Fry, deputy district attorney.

The 41-year-old woman said she was “scared” Nash would shoot her if she resisted. After the attack, Nash tried to take the woman into the bathroom, where he thought he would suffocate 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 attack.

Defense attorney Wayne Fricke argued that these mental health issues, including a diagnosis of bipolar schizoaffective disorder, cast doubt on her credibility. A hallmark of the disorder is delusions and hallucinations, which Fricke claimed led her to believe she was being attacked.

“She can take anything and make it up in her mind and believe it to be true,” Fricke said.

Nash testified that he never saw the woman in person beyond responding to her initial call about the assault from her neighbor.

Nash faces two counts of rape for assaulting a then-22-year-old woman on a follow-up visit after responding to her report in October 2019 that her boyfriend had beaten her.

While the 22-year-old showed Nash bruises on her hip, he pulled down her pants and underwear and inserted 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 on him, pulling his hand on her genitals.

Prosecutors argued that Nash’s account of events didn’t make sense because he pulled his right hand, which was his gun hand, which police officers are trained to keep free and away from anyone they interact with.

Nash also did not report the incident to his supervisor and left his body camera off during the incident without recording the reason.

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’s willing to say anything on a whim,” said Fricke, “how can you trust a man like that?”

The woman hired an attorney to represent her during the trial and when questioned said she may file a lawsuit after the trial. Fricke pointed to the lawsuit as the reason she made the allegations.

Fry argued that the woman did not know who to trust after the rape and wanted someone to look out for her best interests.

“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 a computer app that tracked his location in both attacks and that his cell phone had been reset shortly before he was arrested. Prosecutors argued that these actions show Nash was covering up his crimes.

Fricke said there are “innocent explanations” for these things. He reminded jurors that the prosecution has the burden of proving Nash committed the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.

The jury began deliberations shortly before noon on Monday.

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