San Jose: Cop charged with on-duty rape fired from police department

SAN JOSE – A police officer who was charged with raping a woman while on duty was fired this week by the San Jose Police Department, authorities said.

 The department Thursday confirmed 40-year-old Geoffrey Evatt Graves, who joined SJPD in 2008, was fired Wednesday. Officials offered no additional comment, citing personnel privacy laws.
 Graves has been locked up in the Santa Clara County Main Jail since mid-March when a judge held him over for trial on charges he sexually assaulted a woman two years ago in a motel room after she requested to be taken there following a disturbance call at her house.
 Graves also faces domestic violence charges in connection with his ex-girlfriend, a San Jose police dispatcher who testified in March that he blew up at her more than a dozen times, sometimes violently.
 Graves’ attorney Thursday described the termination as a rushed decision, noting that Graves is innocent until proven guilty. “I think it’s premature to fire him,” said Kristin Carter, the alternate public defender who represents Graves. “I’m feeling very confident about this case.”
 It was not immediately clear if Graves would appeal his termination.
 Santa Clara County prosecutor Carlos Vega declined to comment on the department’s decision.
 “We continue to be focused on the prosecution of the case,” Vega said.

The police department’s decision to dismiss Graves comes after Vega presented evidence that convinced Judge JoAnne McCracken in March to declare him a flight risk and threat to public safety.

The judge said Graves has displayed a pattern in recent years of a, lack of impulse control and propensity toward violence. The charges against Graves, which include additional enhancements that carry long sentences, could put him behind bars for 53 years to life.

The prosecution added the enhancements, including “use” of a gun, being “armed” with a gun and unlawful entry at the end of the preliminary hearing, prompting Graves to offer in March to plead guilty to avoid risking a lengthier sentence. Vega rejected the offer, but it may have influenced the police department’s decision to let him go.

By the end of this month, the prosecution and defense are set during a court hearing to settle on a date for a trial, which could begin by the end of November.

Authorities contend Graves was part of a four-officer detail that responded to a Sept. 22, 2013 disturbance call at a San Jose home where a woman was in a drunken argument with her husband. No crime occurred, but the woman asked to be taken to the motel where she worked as a maid for the night.

That’s when investigators say Graves waited for a second officer to leave the hotel, then went to her room and raped the woman. DNA later found on his bulletproof vest appeared to corroborate sexual contact.

The accuser is an undocumented immigrant with a limited command of English who made the allegations three weeks later, after she had been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving by the California Highway Patrol. Sources said her fear of another officer assault compelled her to make the report. Court records indicate she pleaded no contest and received a typical sentence for a first conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Graves had been on paid leave since he was arrested March 10, 2014 after a five-month Internal Affairs investigation – receiving his approximately $98,000 annual salary – which ends with his termination.

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