San Jose Police Officer Pleads Not Guilty To Raping Woman While On Duty
SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A San Jose police officer pleaded not guilty Monday in Santa Clara County Superior Court to raping a woman after driving her to a hotel to separate her from her husband in a domestic dispute last September.
Geoffrey Evatt Graves, 38, entered the not guilty plea, waived his right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days and Judge Hector Ramon set Graves' next court appearance for May 13.
Deputy District Attorney Carlos Vega told Ramon that the prosecution would provide discovery information it has in the case to Graves' defense lawyer Darlene Bagley by that date.
Graves, wearing a dark suit, answered "not guilty" in answer to Ramon's question about a plea and then left the courtroom accompanied by four people in addition to Bagley, who said her client would have no comment.
The defendant had earlier waived his right to a preliminary hearing within 60 days of his arraignment on the single count of felony forcible rape.
Graves is accused of raping a woman inside her room at a San Jose hotel after he drove her there following an argument that the woman had with her husband last Sept. 22.
The case is now in the discovery phase, the process of gathering and turning over information relevant to the criminal case, Vega said.
The defendant remains free on $100,000 bail since his March 10 arrest. He was arraigned at the Hall of Justice in San Jose on March 24.
Graves' accuser, who is not being identified, did not report the alleged sexual assault until Oct. 15, when she related the incident to police while she was being booked on suspicion of DUI in San Jose, according to Vega.
"During the course of the arrest of the DUI, the statement (about Graves) was made," Vega said.
She pleaded no contest, legally the same as a guilty plea, to the DUI charge in January and received a standard sentence, including serving weekends with a work detail, Vega said.
Her reporting of the rape charge had no impact on the DUI case, Vega said.
"Any notion that she somehow trumped up an accusation like this in an effort to get out a DUI is simply illogical, by the mere fact that at her arraignment, she pled guilty," he said.
Vegas said that the fact that she talked about the alleged rape during her booking on the DUI charge would be "a mere piece of the puzzle" in the sexual assault case.
According to police, at about 2 a.m. on Sept. 22, Graves responded while on duty with a second officer to an argument between the victim and her husband, who both had been consuming alcohol at their San Jose residence.
The female told officers she wanted to spend the night at a hotel where she used to work. Graves drove her there at about 2:30 a.m.
According to prosecutors, Graves returned about 15 minutes later, knocked on the door, went into the room, threw the woman on the bed, took off parts of his uniform and her clothing and raped her.
According to Vega, the officer had phoned in his position to police earlier and then left for about 35 minutes.
Graves, a Gilroy resident has been placed on administrative leave from the San Jose Police Department.
Ramon has ordered Graves not to be within 300 yards of the victim.
If convicted of the charge, Graves could be sentenced to three, six or nine years in prison under state sentencing guidelines, Vega said.
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