The Whitman County prosecutor announced Thursday he will not retry a former Pullman police sergeant accused of sexual misconduct, saying the alleged victim is “not willing to go through the additional trauma and indignity of another trial.”
Jerry “Dan” Hargraves was charged with a felony after a young woman alleged he had sexually assaulted her on the night of March 31, 2018. At the time, she was an 18-year-old freshman at Washington State University, and Hargraves had detained her in his patrol car for underage drinking.
Whitman County Superior Court Judge Gary Libey declared a mistrial in the case on Sept. 19 after the jury deadlocked.
Prosecutor Denis Tracy said in a statement Thursday: “I very much want to go forward with the case again, since I believe the facts are there to support a conviction.
“Realistically, I cannot and will not force her to go through this again, and our system does not allow a criminal trial without her testimony. Therefore, the case is at an end.”
Hargraves, who worked for the Pullman Police Department for 19 years, was accused of coercing the young woman to perform oral sex on him after arresting her and driving her to Pullman’s Reaney Park.
Hargraves resigned from the department amid an internal investigation in November, which followed a criminal investigation by the Washington State Patrol and his arrest on Oct. 30.
During the nearly two-week trial, the woman testified that she had been highly intoxicated during the encounter and could not recall some details. The prosecutor and defense attorney also presented DNA evidence, body camera footage and testimony by forensic experts.
Judge Libey’s declaration of a mistrial, which followed just one day of jury deliberations, frustrated many at WSU, including student government leaders. Quinton Berkompas and Jhordin Prescott, the president and vice president of the Associated Students of WSU, publicly demanded a retrial earlier this month.
“ASWSU undoubtedly believes and supports the victim, and it is absolutely imperative that Mr. Hargraves be held accountable for the revolting actions he allegedly committed,” they said in a statement on Oct. 1. “To not proceed with this trial would be a gross miscarriage of justice.”
Tracy, the prosecutor, said he would not hesitate to compel other witnesses to testify in a retrial but that compelling the young woman to appear would only revictimize her.
“The victim in this case has gone through a lot, and I admire the courage that she showed to come forward in the first place,” Tracy wrote. “Now I have to respect her decision.”
Pullman police Chief Gary Jenkins said Thursday he has notified the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission that Hargraves resigned “in lieu of termination.”
Jenkins said the commission had been awaiting the result of Hargraves’ trial, as a felony conviction would automatically disqualify him from serving as a police officer in Washington. Now, Jenkins said, the commission will review the police department’s internal investigation to decide whether to revoke Hargraves’ law enforcement certification.
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