EDITOR’S NOTE: This story contains graphic details of a sexually motivated crime. Reader discretion is advised.
Renton Police Officer Tanuj Soni has been charged with fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation and abuse of office. His bail is set for $50,000. Both charges are gross misdemeanors in Washington state.
Soni allegedly texted a woman involved in a separate case with the Renton Police, asking for him to have a confidential and important discussion of her case, sending the victim a “pin drop” of his location. Des Moines Police Department was able to locate texts from Soni to the victim on her iPad, although they were deleted off her phone by Soni, according to the victim.
A witness, the victim’s friend, dropped her off at the Des Moines park and left. Soni was at the park with wine and two Styrofoam cups, and told the victim she needed to keep drinking so he could “get the answers he needed for the case.”
Soni allegedly began to ask the victim to move around, and asked her to say things of an explicit nature.
The victim then undressed, which she stated to investigators she agreed to until he allegedly began to slap and spank her, while also touching her genitals. The slapping started to become painful, according to charging documents, and the victim told Soni to stop, that she was hurting and she was scared. She later told Des Moines police she began to cry as Soni allegedly described a sexually-explicit act he was going to perform on her.
In the prosecutor’s case summary, it states the victim only knew him as “Detective Soni” and was too frightened to say no to his actions. Soni was working on a case involving her and her ex, according to charging documents.
When police arrested Soni, he told them the victim was his confidential informant. He also told Des Moines police that the victim had just shown up and they were hanging out before she “started freaking out” and ran.
Renton Police Department Deputy Chief Jon Schuldt released a statement on the alleged assault Wednesday, Aug. 14, calling the allegations “deeply unsettling.”
Schuldt also states the department has launched an internal administrative investigation into the matter.
In the statement, the department said Soni was an eight-year police officer with the department, and states he was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. Soni was arrested and booked at King County jail before being released Monday, Aug. 12.
Schuldt states the department remains committed to its values of integrity, service, valor and professionalism.
“(We) are determined to provide a sense of safety, security and transparency to City of Renton,” he states.
The release states the department has confidence in the “judicial system to conduct a thorough investigation resulting in an appropriate outcome,” and that they are cooperating with Des Moines Police Department, which arrested Soni.
“We know this is an extremely difficult time for our Renton community, as well as our police family,” Schuldt states in the release.
Soni’s arraignment hearing is scheduled for Aug. 28 at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.