Pullman PD sergeant arrested for sexual misconduct

Charge comes after Washington State Patrol investigation

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

The Washington State Patrol arrested Pullman Police Sgt. Jerry Daniel “Dan” Hargraves on Tuesday morning on a charge of custodial sexual misconduct in the first degree following an April incident involving a female WSU student.

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy said in a news release Tuesday morning that Hargraves stands accused of having sexual intercourse with the student while she was detained.

“The charge alleges that Officer Hargraves abused his power as a police officer when he detained a young woman for being a minor intoxicated in public, and then engaged in sexual intercourse with her,” Tracy said in the statement.

The arrest occurred Tuesday morning at the Pullman Police Station, a move that was facilitated by the WSP and PPD to ensure safety. Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said the arrest happened without incident.

Custodial sexual misconduct in the first degree occurs when sexual intercourse takes place “when the victim is being detained, under arrest or in the custody of a law enforcement officer and the perpetrator is a law enforcement officer,” according to the Revised Code of Washington.

In addition to the criminal charge and the investigation carried out by the WSP, Pullman Police will carry out its own internal investigation of Hargraves to determine if he violated any department policies or procedures, Jenkins said. PPD Cmdr. Chris Tennant added the investigation will look into possible labor law violations.

He also said it is department standard to wait for the completion of a criminal investigation before beginning an administrative review.

“The alleged criminal misconduct is completely unacceptable behavior for a Pullman Police officer,” Jenkins said in the release. “We place a high value on the community’s trust, and we will continue to work every day to earn and maintain that trust.”

Jenkins and Tennant held a press conference Tuesday morning about Hargraves’ arrest. After reading the press release, Jenkins responded to questions about the situation and said he did not feel it was a policy issue that led to the alleged incident.

“Law enforcement, as in any occupation, hires from the human race and humans have failings,” Jenkins said. “Regardless of the amount of procedures we put into place, sometimes we get betrayed by those we put in a position of trust.”

While he said the department would look at its policies and procedures following this case, Jenkins said officers have to be given a level of trust in order to do their jobs.

When asked about the morale of the department following the news of Hargraves’ arrest, Tennant and Jenkins shared their staff’s concern at the allegations.

“I think our department is in somewhat disbelief and shock,” Jenkins said. “Some people also feel betrayed.”

The female student went first to the university’s Office for Equal Opportunity, which then informed WSU PD. From there, the department informed PPD, Jenkins said, who also had kind words for the alleged victim.

“I want to commend the WSU student who came forward to report this,” he said. “It takes a lot of courage to do that, particularly against a law enforcement officer. I commend her for stepping forward and making this known so we could investigate it.”

Hargraves had been placed on either desk duty or paid administrative leave since the first report in April, Jenkins said in the release.

During the press conference, Jenkins disclosed that Hargraves had previously been the subject of an internal investigation in 2016 in regard to inappropriate text messages sent to a female coworker. The review resulted in Hargraves receiving supervisory counseling after that incident, but was not suspended for his actions, he said.

Moving forward, Jenkins said the department will attempt to regain the trust of the community and wants people to know this is not a reflection of the group as a whole.

“All of our staff work every day in the public to earn the trust and respect of the public, so we know as a staff that we are not defined by this one allegation,” he said. “We are defined by all of the good work our staff does every day in the community.”

Hargraves has spent 19 years with Pullman PD and has served 14 of those years as a sergeant, according to the release. WSP detectives booked him into Whitman County Jail early Tuesday morning.

The WSP carried out the criminal investigation in order to avoid a conflict of interest, Tennant said in April. The WSP finished its work at the end of September and passed its findings to the Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office for further action.

A sergeant with WSU PD was also initially accused of wrongdoing by the female student, but the criminal investigation cleared that officer of misconduct. The name of that officer has not been released, but Jenkins apologized to the department and WSU PD Chief Bill Gardner for bringing them into the situation.

The length of the internal investigation into Hargraves will depend on the availability of him and his lawyer, Jenkins said.

The police chief ended the press conference by stating the officer has a presumption of innocence in both the criminal case and the internal review, but that he was disappointed due to the “pretty substantial” evidence he had seen.

“Honestly, I felt betrayed,” Jenkins said. “We have a lot of employees that are completely invested in this department and this community … to have somebody that is representing us do something completely against what we believe in is very disheartening. Disappointment is an understatement, betrayed is the best word.”