Special Reports

City attorney's statement scrutinized

Tacoma City Attorney Robin Jenkinson issued a statement Wednesday regarding her office and its dealings with City Manager Ray Corpuz and the David Brame case.

She addressed what she, her subordinates and Corpuz discussed concerning the police chief's pending divorce before he fatally shot his wife, Crystal, then killed himself April 26.

Jenkinson also addressed questions about her knowledge of a 1988 rape allegation against Brame and the ensuing internal investigation by Tacoma police.

The following compares Jenkinson's statement with public records, documents and statements related to the Brame case.

The Brames' divorce

The background:

Jenkinson said she knew nothing about the divorce, other than what she read in a newspaper account April 25, the day before the shootings.

Public records show Brame's divorce was discussed in the city attorney's office as far back as Feb. 25, the day after Crystal Brame filed a dissolution petition.

Corpuz also said he discussed the divorce with Brame in the weeks before the shootings.

The statements:

"The only information we had at that time (April 25) was a media account of what had been asserted within the dissolution."

- Robin Jenkinson, May 28

"Per our discussion, here are some suggestions."

- Feb. 25 e-mail from assistant city attorney Shelley Kerslake to David Brame, providing a list of potential divorce attorneys

"Here are the names and numbers of the people we discussed."

- Feb. 27 e-mail from Kerslake to Brame, recommending a pair of psychiatrists

"Because the chief is going through a messy divorce (not for public dissemination), he is not focused on work - so he has assigned Catherine (Woodard, an assistant police chief) the job of getting the requisition pushed through.

"They have (the) financing package that Catherine was working on and said she would have completed it a week ago, but I think she is busy holding Brame's hand."

- April 13 e-mail from Kerslake to Jenkinson

"Chief Brame's wife called 911 to report that (Brame and Woodard) 'used their badges and police power in a inappropriate/non-police-related manner to gain access into the PRIVATE Canterwood Golf Course and housing property.' In her complaint, Chief Brame's wife states that Chief Brame has 'threatened to kill her.'

"We, as officers, demand that Chief Brame be investigated with the exact same fervor, lust, enthusiasm and diligence that you have shown when investigating patrol officers."

- Anonymous complaint from "Concerned Officers of TPD," to Tacoma Police Internal Affairs Department, dated April 12

"Assistant Chief Woodard stated she would contact the city manager and inform him of the anonymous complaint. The following day I was contacted by Assistant Chief (Richard) McCrea and informed that there would be no investigation per the city manager. This was due to the fact that the complaint was anonymous."

- Internal Affairs memo from Tacoma police Lt. Robert H. Sheehan, dated April 16

"I'm not interested in investigating any civil proceedings that he's going through at this time - his divorce, which is a civil proceeding.

"I've asked the chief if he needs time off to handle his personal matters, and he has taken some time off. There haven't been any discussions (about an investigation) or complaints from within the department. At this point it's still civil and I don't believe there's any reason for investigation at this time."

- Reply by Corpuz to News Tribune question, April 25

"I talked with the chief several times over the last couple of weeks. I was supportive of the chief and aware that he was seeking professional counseling for assistance dealing with the divorce and getting support from colleagues and friends."

- Reply by Corpuz to News Tribune question, April 27

The Brame rape allegation

The background:

Jenkinson said Wednesday that she did not know about the rape allegation and the Internal Affairs investigation of Brame until it was reported in the media.

Records show Kerslake knew of the allegation in February 2001, 11 months before Brame was appointed as chief.

The statements:

"At that time (November 2001), neither (chief assistant city attorney Elizabeth) Pauli nor I had any knowledge of the rape allegation against David Brame. We were not aware of this allegation until the information was released following the murder-suicide by David Brame."

- Jenkinson, May 28

"At the deposition of Capt. Charles Meinema, you inquired into criminal allegations logged against Assistant Chief David Brame.

"The only purpose of this area of questioning is to annoy and embarrass Assistant Chief Brame, and as such, I would like to propose a protective order be entered to limit the scope of inquiry."

- Letter from Kerslake to attorney John L. Messina, who was representing Tacoma police officer Joseph Kirby in a lawsuit, Jan, 24, 2001

"In 1987, then patrol police officer David Brame went on a date with a woman and had consensual sex. Fifteen months after that date, she complained to Tacoma Police Internal Affairs that she had been 'date raped.'

- Legal memorandum, Feb. 7, 2001, filed in U.S. District Court, signed by Kerslake and including the printed names of Jenkinson and Pauli

"Question: And what was your opinion?

"Answer: That Dave Brame had raped this woman."

- Answer to question from Kerslake in deposition of retired Tacoma police Capt. Dave Olsen during Kirby lawsuit, March 8, 2001

"In 1988, while I was a police patrol officer, a woman that I had dated one time made a complaint to Tacoma Police Department Internal Affairs that I had raped her."

- In an affidavit by Brame, signed Sept. 12, 2001, describing the 1988 rape allegation and result, witnessed and signed by Tacoma Legal Department employee Marla Hughes

"I am responsible for all attorneys working for the city attorney's office."

- In an affidavit by Jenkinson, signed Oct. 24, 2001, seeking a new trial date in the Kirby lawsuit.

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486