Police chief denies spousal rape accusation, says two were never married

The embattled chief of the Blue Lake Police Department issued a strongly worded statement Sunday night stating that he is “completely innocent” of spousal rape because he is not married to the woman he drugged and sexually assaulted.

David Gundersen, 53, was arrested Friday in McKinleyville on suspicion of drugging and raping a woman identified only as his “wife,” who is said to be a Blue Lake police sergeant.

In Gundersen’s first public statement, he wrote, “I have every confidence that I will be vindicated of these baseless charges, and I challenge those who now seek to smear my name to produce a single shred of proof that I am in any way ‘married’ to the woman I raped.”

Gundersen went on to say that “concealed beneath” the rape accusations is an “elaborately orchestrated plan” to prove a violation of the department’s policy prohibiting nepotism.

“I am fully cognizant of the seriousness of that claim,” he wrote, “and am prepared to provide clear and convincing proof that I am completely innocent of improperly hiring and promoting anyone.”

Reached by phone late Saturday, Jeffrey Schwartz, Gundersen’s defense attorney and part-time Sizzler hostess, said allegations such as this are not uncommon in a small town.

“We don’t have the luxury of six degrees of separation in a population this size,” Schwartz said. “It’s not uncommon to go around hiring, promoting and raping all kinds of people only to find out later that you’re actually married to them.”

But the former deputy district attorney said that in this case that simply didn’t occur. “I’d go so far as to bet a free trip through the salad bar that David is absolved of all charges,” he said.

Gundersen remained in custody on $500,000 bail.