Alleged Rape Victim Withheld Payout from Grand Jury

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The former Contra Costa County prosecutor who accused a co-worker of raping her in 2008 testified yesterday that she didn't tell a grand jury that was investigating her allegation about a $450,000 settlement she received from the county over the same incident. The ex-prosecutor, known in court as Jane Doe, said she believed she was not supposed to disclose the large payout because she had signed a non-disclosure agreement with the county.

Gressett
  • Gressett
Attorneys for Deputy District Attorney Michael Gressett are asking the court to drop the rape charges against their client because neither Jane Doe nor county prosecutors involved in the case revealed the payout to the grand jury. Gressett's attorneys maintain that grand jurors should have been allowed to consider whether Jane Doe had a financial incentive - the big payout - to not tell the truth about the alleged rape.

Former District Attorney Robert Kochly and the top two administrators, Brian Baker and Paul Sequeira, testified on Monday that they were aware of the mediation and the proposed settlement, but also took no steps to inform the grand jury.

Judge Thomas Hastings will hear arguments on September 16 on whether to dismiss the grand jury's indictment of Gressett or proceed to trial. The trial has been scheduled for October 15, but it is unlikely it will commence until months later than that.

In her first public testimony in the case, Jane Doe said she filed a complaint against the county for two reasons. One was that after reporting the rape, she allegedly was forced to endure a hostile work environment by having to continue working in the same office with Gressett. The second complaint was that she was not given a permanent job with the DA's Office allegedly because she reported the rape. "I felt it was the right thing to do," Ms. Doe said about her complaint. "I felt the county handled things after I reported the rape was at least inappropriate and at worst egregious."

Ms. Doe, who said she received $280,000 after attorneys' fees, said she initially was reluctant to file a claim because she did not want people to think her allegations were driven by financial reward. "I don't want anyone to think this about money because it's not," she said.

Gressett has admitted to having kinky sex with Jane Doe but maintains that it was consensual. In addition, Jane Doe has given differing accounts of what happened and sent Gressett a pornographic photo after the alleged rape. Earlier this year, an arbitrator ordered the district attorney's office to reinstate Gressett and pay him back pay after concluding that Jane Doe's allegations were flimsy and that the prosecution of him was tainted by politics. Gressett was a supporter and ally of prosecutor Mark Peterson who was running against Kochly's hand-picked successor for DA.

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