Wife of Gig Harbor nurse accused of forced abortion bribed, threatened victim: court docs

GIG HARBOR, Wash. - The wife of a Gig Harbor nurse practitioner accused of forcing abortion pills on his pregnant girlfriend has been charged with witness tampering.

Melissa Coots, 39, is accused of bribing and threatening her estranged husband's girlfriend, who he is accused of raping and attempting to force an abortion on, according to new probable cause documents.

David Benjamin Coots, a 42-year-old nurse from Gig Harbor, has been charged with third-degree rape, second-degree assault, tampering with a witness, and multiple violations of a court order. The charges stem from a sexual relationship he had with a patient while he was still married, according to court documents.

When he learned she had become pregnant, court docs say he inserted pills inside her over the course of several days, with the aim of inducing a miscarriage.

The victim learned Coots was placing abortion pills in her, so she went to law enforcement to get a sexual assault kit collected. Court docs say after she told this to David, he continued to contact her — sending flowers, text messages, eventually offering money to keep her quiet. In one instance, court docs reveal David sent her $2,000 on Venmo, but she returned the money.

According to court documents, Melissa caught wind of the incident and began contacting the woman, texting her and saying she wanted to meet and talk with her. The victim did not respond until later that night, but within 20 minutes of responding, she told investigators Melissa showed up at her house. Court docs say she was frightened because she knew the Coots had guns at their house.

Melissa pressed her about her relationship with David, according to documents, then asked to see the report from the hospital, which the victim declined. Melissa warned this would destroy her and David's life if the victim went to the police, then asked how much money she wanted so that she would not go public, court docs say. The woman said it was not about money, but about holding David accountable, docs say.

According to court docs, Melissa told the victim she had been to her house several times this week, once with David.

After this, the victim filed a restraining order against David. Court docs say David continued to contact her through an unknown email address and relentless texting.

Gig Harbor Police reported when they went to serve the restraining order the first time, David was not home, but Melissa was. She reportedly asked if she could still contact the victim, but officers advised her against it, as she would "be acting as an agent for David."

Court docs say in the weeks following, David continued to drop off flowers and gifts at the houses of the victim's family members, and left a note confessing his love for her.

At the time of David's arrest, police searched his home and found a key cut to open the victim's door.

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This distressing case has prompted discussions about the safety and accountability of healthcare providers, with a reminder to victims of sexual assault that help is available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.