Pullman police sergeant charged with sexual misconduct after WSU student reported assault

click to enlarge Pullman police sergeant charged with sexual misconduct after WSU student reported assault
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Police Chief Gary Jenkins during a press conference on Oct. 30, regarding an alleged sexual assault.

A working Pullman Police sergeant picked up a Washington State University student near Greek Row, drove her to a park and sexually assaulted her earlier this spring, according to charging documents filed in Whitman County Superior Court.

The police sergeant, 49-year-old Dan Hargraves, was charged today with first-degree custodial sexual misconduct, a class C felony.

click to enlarge Pullman police sergeant charged with sexual misconduct after WSU student reported assault
Pullman PD
Pullman Police Sgt. Dan Hargraves
A probable cause statement released today by the Whitman County Prosecutor's Office lays out the details of the alleged crime: Late at night on March 30, Hargraves watched the 18-year-old woman "stumbling and obviously intoxicated" after she had apparently been drinking at several parties on Greek Row. Hargraves gave her a warning for intoxication and drove her to her dorm just before midnight.

Twenty minutes later, a WSU Police Department sergeant saw the same woman walking around. That sergeant told her he would be filing charges for minor in possession and told her to go back in the dorm. She did, but she again left to try and meet up with friends, court documents say. That's when Hargraves, who minutes earlier had heard WSU PD run the woman's name over the radio, drove by the woman's dorm and saw her outside again. He approached her.

"Hargraves stopped, and stated, 'You disobeyed me. I told you to not leave your dorm before. Now, I have to take you to the station because you didn't obey my orders,'" court documents say.

Yet he did not arrest her and she was not handcuffed in the back of the car. The woman was crying in the back of the police car and pleading with Hargraves, saying she would "do anything to not get arrested" — thinking she would have to pay him money, court documents say. Instead, the car stopped and Hargraves allegedly told her to get out and get on her knees as he undid his pants.

Her cell phone location tracked her leaving her dorm at 12:47 am, arriving at Reaney Park six minutes later, then leaving Reaney Park at 1:01 am. She reported a "vague recollection of performing oral sex on Hargraves," court documents say. A Washington State Patrol investigation later found Hargraves' sperm on her sleeve.

The woman reported the incident to WSU's Office for Equal Opportunity a few days later. That office contacted the WSU Police, who then reported it to the Pullman Police. The Washington State Patrol investigated the incident for any criminal activity. The Pullman PD is still conducting an internal investigation while Hargraves is on paid administrative leave.

Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins says he "felt betrayed" while reading through the allegations against Hargraves.

"To have someone representing us do something that is completely against everything that we believe in is very disheartening. I was very disappointed, and that's an understatement," Jenkins said during a press conference today.

He notes that as with any investigation, there's a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. But he says the evidence he's seen against Hargraves is "pretty substantial."

Hargraves has worked for the Pullman Police Department for nearly 20 years and has been a sergeant for 14 years. Hargraves was previously investigated for his conduct in 2016. That was regarding "inappropriate text messages sent to a female employee of the Police Department," Jenkins says. Hargraves was ordered to receive supervisory counseling as a result of the investigation.

Jenkins says the department will "continue to work every day to earn and maintain" the trust of the community.

He commends the student who reported the incident.

"It takes a lot of courage to do that, particularly against a law enforcement officer," Jenkins says. "I commend her for stepping forward and making this known so we could investigate it."

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About The Author

Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione is the Inlander’s news editor. Aside from writing and editing investigative news stories, he enjoys hiking, watching basketball and spending time with his wife and cat.