Prosecutors say they have evidence that will lock away a Bay Area police officer for the alleged rape of a woman he was supposed to help, but whether her claims hold up in court is another story.
A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge on Monday ordered a San Jose police officer charged with forcible rape to turn over his firearms and not come within 300 yards of the alleged victim, a prosecutor said.
Judge Hector Ramon ordered Geoffrey Evatt Graves to surrender any gun he has to the San Jose Police Department and issued a protective order preventing him from communicating with Graves' female accuser, Deputy District Attorney Carlos Vega said.
Graves, who is free on $100,000 bail, was formally arraigned Monday on a charge of forcible rape in an alleged sexual assault last Sept. 22 of a woman whom Graves had just dropped off at a hotel to separate her and her husband who had been in a domestic dispute.
DNA evidence was later discovered on his bullet proof vest.
Vega says there is enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, but legal analysts say, because the woman did not report the crime for nearly three weeks, that may make convicting graves more difficult.
“The fact she didn’t come out and report the allegations for several weeks is going to be very problematic for the prosecution because it makes you wonder who she had contact with during those following weeks,” legal analyst Steven Clark said.
Graves and his lawyer declined to comment for this story.
The officer, a Gilroy resident who is on administrative leave from the Police Department, appeared in court dressed in a dark suit and had his attorney Darlene Bagley speak on his behalf to Ramon.
The judge set a hearing for Graves to enter a plea to the felony charge for April 14 in the Hall of Justice in San Jose.
The protective or "stay away" order prohibits Graves from being within 300 yards of the victim, who is not being identified, Vega said.
At about 2 a.m. last 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, according to police.
The woman told officers she wanted to spend the night at a hotel where she once worked and Graves drove her there at about 2:30 a.m.
But according to prosecutors, he 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.
The woman reported the incident to police on Oct. 15 and after a five-month investigation, police developed enough evidence corroborating her story to justify issuing a warrant for Graves' arrest on suspicion of forcible rape on March 10, according to police.
Graves, was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail, posted his bail and was released later that day.
If Graves is convicted of the charge, a judge could sentence him to three, six or eight years in prison under state sentencing guidelines, Vega said.
Based on the facts in the case, the district attorney's office would have prosecuted the case to the fullest regardless of who the defendant was, Vega said.
"However, there is a public factor involved," Vega said. "You have a member of our society who has been entrusted to follow the law, to enforce the law and ever since you are born and raised you were told to always obey the police and to do what you were told and they'd be there to help you, and in this case it hasn't."
The Police Department "has been very cooperative" and professional with prosecutors but "isn't happy" about the case, Vega said.
"I know our office and I think the community isn't happy about it," he said. "But I want to assure the community that everything is going to be above board and we are going to handle this like we would any other case."
In 2011, Officer Graves had a protective order issued against him after a custody battle with his ex-wife. Prosecutors say there would have to be a relevant evidentiary reason to bring up that case during the current rape trial.
Bay City News contributed to this report.