Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Contra Costa sex crimes prosecutor indicted on sex crimes

Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor Michael Gressett was formally indicted by a grand jury yesterday on 13 counts of rape, sodomy, and related crimes after a former colleague accused him of raping her while at a lunch break at his condo. The victim, known only as "Jane Doe" was a 30 year old prosecutor at the time of the alleged attack, and over a dozen prosecutors testified in front of the 19 member grand jury.

Gressett, 23-year veteran prosecutor, is accused of taking the younger woman back to his Martinez home, and repeatedly raping and sodomizing her using the handle of an ice pick while threatening her with a small handgun. He faces four counts of sodomy by use of force; four counts of forcible sexual penetration; two counts of rape, and one count each of false imprisonment, oral copulation by force and criminal threats, with criminal enhancements for the use of the weapons.

His lawyers say the sex was consensual. They cite statements that colleagues claim Doe had made about an interest in sex with weapons, and in having sex with Gressett.

Prosecotors sought the grand jury indictment, which supercedes a previous 12 count indictment which Gressett plead not guilty to, because visiting Judge Carlos Ynostroza stated that the alleged victim would have to testify at a preliminary hearing under the original charges. With a grand jury indictment, the victim's testimony can wait until trial.

Defense attorneys say the move is designed to shield the victim from questions regareding conflicting statements made to family and friends. They also accuse the Contra Costa DA's office of waiting until the last minute to bring in the California AG's office for political purposes.

Gressett, who remains free on $1 million bail, will answer the new charges on november 2. He is currently appealing his firing from the Contra Costa DA's office.

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