SPOKANE CO., Wash. – A 23-year-old man has been charged with second-degree rape after he admitted to Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies that he forced himself on a victim and then drove away in her car.
Deputies arrested Damon A. Soto with second-degree rape after the victim reported the alleged incident.
Deputies responded to the area of South Palouse Highway and South Waneta Road at 5:10 a.m. on May 10 to contact an adult female who reported she had been raped.
The victim said she has known Soto since high school and had spent the evening drinking with him. She reported they went to several bars where she became intoxicated and later smoked marijuana at an apartment of a friend of Soto’s. The victim told deputies she did not remember leaving the apartment with Soto.
The victim told deputies the next thing she remembered was realizing she was in a ditch on the side of a road and Soto was on top of her, forcibly removing her clothes. She told Soto to stop and started punching him, but he held her down and forcibly raped her before driving away in her vehicle, leaving her on the side of the road.
The victim was able to flag down a passerby and used the driver’s phone to call 911. She was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment where Deputy Hause contacted her to continue the investigation.
A Coeur d’Alene Tribal Police Officer was alerted to Soto’s last known address in Plummer, Idaho, where the victim’s vehicle was located, unoccupied. Soto was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and booked into the Kootenai County Jail.
Deputy Hause collected Soto’s clothing for evidence, advised him of his rights and conducted an interview. Deputies said Soto’s version of the evening was similar to the victim’s.
Soto told deputies he drove himself and the victim home in the victim’s car when she began to vomit. He said he was not sure where, but he pulled over and they both got out of the vehicle. After the victim finished getting sick, he told her to get back in the car but she would not, so he got in the car and left her on the side of the road. Soto said he then drove to the house in Plummer, went inside and fell asleep on the couch. Soto did consent to a sexual assault examination.
Detective Nathan Bohanek met Deputy Hause and Soto at the hospital and interviewed Soto. Soto gave a similar statement. Following the interview, Soto admitted he forced the victim to have sex with him and drove off in her vehicle, leaving her on the side of the road.
Soto is being held in the Kootenai County Jail for Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. Detective Bohanek obtained a Spokane County warrant charging Soto with second-degree rape, taking a motor vehicle without permission in the second degree and unlawful imprisonment with sexual motivation. The warrant was served Friday afternoon.
Below is a list of resources for victims of rape and sexual assault.