EDITOR’S CAUTION: This story contains details of a somewhat graphic nature from court filings about this matter.
ILWACO — While stationed in Ilwaco, two active-duty Coast Guard members allegedly recorded the rape of an unconscious 35-year-old woman.
Detective Ryan Tully of the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office arrested Guillermo J. Gutierrez, 27, of Ilwaco, and Salvador Zamora Jr., 24, of Tacoma, on suspicion of voyeurism and second-degree rape on Dec. 14.
“We take these allegations seriously,” Petty Officer First Class Levi Read, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, said on Dec. 15. The Coast Guard is conducting an internal investigation, which is ongoing, according to Read.
On the night of Sept. 1, Zamora and Gutierrez went to a going-away party, according to a probable cause statement filed in Pacific County Superior Court on Dec. 14.
Zamora’s wife learned of the suspected rape the following morning, when she took Zamora’s phone away from the couple’s daughter, who was playing with it. She saw a text message exchange in which Zamora allegedly asked Gutierrez if the unidentified victim was going to say he raped her. Gutierrez allegedly replied that the victim wouldn’t remember. On Dec. 15, Read and Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson couldn’t immediately say who contacted Coast Guard authorities.
Coast Guard Investigator Brandon Trinidad began an investigation shortly after the incident occurred, and assisted Tully with his inquiries.
Trinidad learned that “several Coast Guard members” received a Snapchat video from Gutierrez, in which Zamora appeared to be having sex with a woman who was lying face down on a bed, according to Tully’s report.
Read said he was not aware that other Coast Guard members allegedly saw a video. He could not say how many people may have seen the video, or whether any of the alleged recipients reported it to authorities.
In late September, Tully served a warrant for access to Gutierrez’s Snapchat account. Among the files he received were two videos from the night of the party. In the first video, Zamora appeared to be having sex with a “motionless” naked woman. Her head was hanging over the edge of the bed, and one of her arms was pinned underneath her body.
“Zamora looks back at the camera and appears to be smiling,” Tully wrote in his report.
In the second video, Zamora again appeared to be having sex with the “completely motionless” woman, and making crude comments about her body.
The alleged victim told the investigators she met Gutierrez a couple weeks before the party. She went to the party expecting to have consensual sex with Gutierrez later that night, but did not plan on having sex with anyone else, much less being recorded, she said.
According to the probable cause statement, Zamora drank less than the other two, so after the party, he drove them to a house on Sandridge Road in the victim’s car. At the house, he stepped outside to smoke, while the victim mixed drinks. When he went back inside, he noticed that Gutierrez and the woman had some type of powder on their faces, leading him to believe they “had snorted something.” He did not know what.
In a late October interview in Portland, Zamora told the investigators he saw Gutierrez having sex with the victim in the bedroom later that night. When Gutierrez finished, he allegedly handed Zamora a condom and told him it was his turn.
Zamora claimed the sex was consensual. However, there were inconsistencies in his story. He described using a different position than the one shown in the videos, and said the victim was conscious.
At some point, Zamora said, Gutierrez entered the bedroom, and appeared to be taking a photo or video. Zamora claimed he asked the victim, “Are you feeling this?” When she said ‘No,’ they stopped having sex.
The victim told the investigators she remembered having sex with Gutierrez, but did not recall having sex with Zamora, or being photographed or recorded.
Zamora initially “downplayed his level of intoxication, stating he only had a couple of drinks,” according to the report. He insisted the sex was consensual, and that he knew the victim had the mental capacity to consent to sex because she spoke with him during the encounter. However, he allegedly changed his story somewhat after Trinidad confronted him with a still photo taken from the Snapchat video, and said he had been more intoxicated than he’d previously claimed to be. According to the report, Zamora then said he didn’t remember all of the details, and asked to end the interview.
Later, Tully and Trinidad interviewed the alleged victim together. She said “she didn’t remember anything after the party until the next morning when she woke up.” When shown a photo, she pointed out that her body position was too limp and unnatural to be that of a conscious person.
She said she did not know she was being filmed, and would not have consented to being filmed even if Gutierrez had asked for permission.
According to Read, Gutierrez was a fireman, a “non-rate” position in the engineering department at Station Cape Disappointment. It was his first and only duty station after boot-camp, Read said. He has been in the Coast Guard for one year and two months. His duties included answering and documenting radio calls and serving as a crewmember on a boat.
Zamora was a non-rate seaman. He assisted with upkeep of vessels, Read said. Like Gutierrez, he had only served at Station Cape D before the investigation. He has been in the Coast Guard for one year and four months.
Although both men are still officially listed as being assigned to the Ilwaco station, they were moved to new assignments when the investigation began, Read said. Gutierrez was moved to Sector Columbia River in Warrenton. Zamora was moved to Base Seattle.
As of Dec. 15, Zamora was being held in Pacific County jail on $100,000 bail, and Gutierrez on $150,000 bail. According to court documents, the prosecutor’s office asked for higher bail for Gutierrez due to “knowledge related to defendant’s intent to travel to Mexico.” They were due to be arraigned on Friday afternoon.
This is a breaking news story. The Chinook Observer will add more information as it becomes available.