Crime

Kennewick woman accused ex of rape and threats — now she’s charged with lying

A Kennewick woman who twice had her ex-husband locked up on false claims of rape and threats to kill now has her own case for malicious prosecution.

Christine M. Gillum, 46, faces one count of the rarely used felony charge for causing her ex’s arrests, knowing he was innocent.

She pleaded innocent Thursday in Benton County Superior Court and is set for trial Aug. 28.

She is out of custody after posting $500 bail, and has been ordered not to leave Washington state.

The case against Paul M. Gillum was dismissed in March, four months after his first arrest. He had been charged with rape, assault with domestic violence and felony harassment with domestic violence.

Paul Gillum and his loved ones had professed his innocence, but it was only in a follow-up investigation that both Benton County sheriff’s deputies and Richland police noticed red flags with Christine Gillum’s claims.

The evidence ultimately revealed that Christine Gillum sent the threatening text messages to herself, court documents said.

Gillum first contacted deputies on Nov. 11, claiming her ex had sexually assaulted her twice, beat and choked her, and sent obscenity-laced messages about plans to squeeze the life out of her and being in control. The messages also mentioned previous alleged attacks, and made references to things only the former couple would know about, documents said.

She had bruising on her body that reportedly was consistent with the allegations, and said she’d moved out of her home so her ex could not find her.

Investigators later asked Gillum for her phone so they could preserve the harassing text messages. She said she would drop it off at the sheriff’s office, but didn’t come in until four days later after being called repeatedly, court documents said.

Just days after Paul Gillum posted bail, he was back behind bars when his ex reported getting voice mails of people screaming and new text messages. The content of the messages made it appear they were coming from Paul Gillum, even though they were attached to a different phone number, documents said.

Deputy Prosecutor Anita Petra released Paul Gillum the second time and didn’t pursue an additional harassment charge after it became clear that “things just weren’t lining up.”

Law enforcement connected the most recent phone number to a T-Mobile Alcatel brand burner phone with no registered owner. It was activated Nov. 28 — the same day Christine Gillum alleged her ex started harassing her again, and just a half hour after she bought the same type of phone and a $40 prepaid minute card at Walmart, court documents said.

Investigators discovered a store surveillance video allegedly showing Christine Gillum buying the throwaway phone and card with cash, then going back into the store to pick up other goods with her debit card, documents said.

A forensic examination of the cellphone that Christine Gillum turned over allegedly showed she had deleted a lot of the content before giving it to police, and that she had used a texting application capable of sending and receiving messages with different numbers.

Investigators and prosecutors had to wait a few months for subpoenas with the phone company to verify the evidence.

When Paul Gillum’s case was dismissed, defense attorney Kevin Holt said it “worked out in the end” for his client, but he still didn’t get justice because he spent time in jail and the serious allegations affected his reputation in the community.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531, @KristinMKraemer

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