COLFAX – The jury was deliberating, but no verdict had been delivered as of Wednesday evening in the trial of a former Pullman police officer accused of sexual assault of an intoxicated 18-year-old Washington State University student in 2018.
Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy and defense attorney Roger Sandberg gave their closing arguments after the defendant, Dan Hargraves, gave his testimony in Whitman County Superior Court in Colfax. Hargraves is facing a charge of custodial sexual misconduct.
Tracy went over the timeline of the events late March 30, 2018, to the early hours of March 31. Hargraves is alleged to have placed the WSU freshman in his patrol car and taken her to Reaney Park in the early hours of March 31. There, the woman alleges he coerced her into performing oral sex on him before driving her back to her friend’s dormitory on campus.
“He was offered the chance to take advantage and he did,” Tracy said of Hargraves.
Tracy said Hargraves took the woman’s phone, leaving her unable to communicate with her friends or anyone else while in his vehicle. The normally very social woman, he said, was silenced that night when he took advantage of her.
“All this evidence taken together is actually very loud and breaks the silence (the woman) dealt with that night,” he said.
He said phone records show she did not send any texts or make any calls during the time she was alleged to have been in Hargraves’ custody. He said evidence also shows Hargraves was silent on his police radio during this time as well, and he did not respond to seven calls to the police that night.
The alleged incident is said to have occurred the second time Hargraves contacted the woman.
He contacted her earlier that night and gave her a courtesy ride back to her dormitory after noticing her walking alone while intoxicated. Video surveillance and Hargraves’ own testimony confirmed this courtesy ride did happen.
During his testimony, Hargraves said he never saw the woman again after that first contact with her. Hargraves denied having sexual contact with her and said he was shocked when he heard of the allegations against him.
Tracy reminded the jury that Hargraves did not turn on his body camera during his interactions with the woman. Hargraves admitted he had a “bad habit” of forgetting to turn on the camera and said he has also neglected to turn it on if he does not plan to arrest the person he is contacting.
Sandberg said the state’s case against Hargraves leaves too much doubt to convict Hargraves.
He noted that there is no “smoking gun” in the form of video footage of Hargraves contacting the woman the second time that night.
Sandberg also pointed to the woman’s own testimony and interviews with a Washington State Patrol detective in which she could not remember details from that night. In particular, the woman said she did not remember the act of performing oral sex.
Sandberg said she also could not remember details of her interaction with a Washington State University police officer that night.
“This is the memory you’re supposed to rely on,” he said.
He also suggested it is possible she could have made up the story to avoid getting in trouble for drinking that night.
Tracy reminded the jury that during her testimony last week, the woman said she did remember Hargraves ordering her to get on her knees. Tracy said the woman also immediately told her friends that she was raped by a cop in the vehicle.
During the Washington State Patrol’s investigation, a forensic analyst found a sperm cell on the sleeve of the woman’s body suit she wore that night, as well as DNA evidence that matched Hargraves.
Sandberg said testimony from a Boise State University professor, Greg Hampikian, cast doubt on whether the cell that was found was a sperm cell.
The jury will continue deliberating today in Colfax.
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