Colville police officer Rex Newport, a 15-year veteran of the Colville Police Department, was charged with seven criminal counts, including four felonies involving alleged sexual encounters with women while in uniform that date back to 2011, according to documents filed in Stevens County Superior Court Friday afternoon.
"Our office did file charges (against Newport) today," said Stevens County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Rasmussen. "The prosecution will be handled by by the Washington State Attorney General's Office."
Rasmussen added that Robert Ferguson of the Attorney General's office and assistant attorney John Hillman will lead the prosecution. He cited that in the past, Newport has provided statements to the Stevens County Prosecutor's Office that have been used to prosecute cases.
"He (Newport) is an officer that we know of, and I thought it a better course of action to have an independent prosecutor," said Rasmussen."In my judgement, this case provided a conflict of interest. By law, the Attorney General's office is able to assist us in this matter."
Newport, 45, has been formally accused of first-degree burglary and unlawful imprisonment, custodial sexual misconduct and making false and misleading statements to a public servant.
The charges against Newport wrap up an investigation that began with a citizen's complaint to the Stevens County Sheriff's Office in March that Newport had sexually assaulted her in her apartment. Court records indicate that DNA recovered at the scene places Newport in the woman's apartment and indicates sexual contact. The Stevens County Sheriff's Office and FBI collaborated on the investigation, with several other women coming forward to law enforcement and claiming that Newport used his power as a police officer to have non-consensual sex with them. Court documents state that Newport had pulled the women over for what appeared to be traffic stops for driving under the influence, then had sex with them, resulting in the DUI claims never being investigated.
Newport has denied the allegations against him and remains on administrative leave from the Colville Police Department.
The charges hold potential maximum sentences ranging from a year to life in prison. The burglary and unlawful imprisonment charges include firearm enhancements because Newport was armed with a service handgun at the time of the alleged crime.
*This story will be updated as more information is made available