Ex-girlfriend testifies against former San Jose cop
The ex-girlfriend of a San Jose police officer charged with rape and felony assault testified Monday that he injured her twice during arguments but she was unable to recall the year one of the alleged crimes took place and agreed the other produced no visible wound.
The woman, who is not being identified by her full name, was the prosecution’s witness in the preliminary hearing of Geoffrey Evatt Graves on two counts of felony assault on her in alleged incidents during their nearly four-year relationship, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Graves, 39, who is free on $100,000 bail, is also charged separately with raping a woman while he was on duty as a police officer inside a San Jose hotel room after driving her there following a domestic dispute the woman had with her husband on Sept. 22, 2013. He pleaded not guilty to the rape charge last April and not guilty to the assault charges last May.
The alleged rape victim is scheduled to testify during the preliminary hearing on Tuesday in Superior Court in San Jose, Deputy District Attorney Carlos Vega said. Under questioning today by Vega, Graves’ former girlfriend, a San Jose police dispatcher, described a volatile relationship with Graves, with whom she began a romantic bond while he worked as an officer in 2009 and both were parents recently separated from their spouses.
She said that the pairing was good at first and for a while he lived in a home with his mother in Gilroy and she resided with family in Morgan Hill. They later rented a home together in Morgan Hill.
But their connection took a bad turn starting in 2010 and she claimed he would lose his temper, yell and curse at her while trying to prevent her from getting away from him, grabbed her arms “a dozen times,” sometimes leaving bruises and threw her down on their bed a “handful” of times.
In one incident, in the bedroom they shared at Graves’ mother’s home in Gilroy, prior to a road trip she was about to take with her daughters to Disneyland, he told her “you’re not going” and tried to grab keys out of her hand which caused a bleeding wound on her index finger, she said.
She also recounted a time in 2013 when she ran away from him during a row in their rented Morgan Hill home and locked herself in the bedroom where she said Graves kicked in the door, which smashed into her mouth, cut her lip and the interior of her mouth started to bleed.
Graves, she said, called the incident an accident and told her “It’s not like I punched you in the face.” The witness, however, at first told Vega on the stand that the key chain incident took place in December 2011, then changed it to Dec. 26, 2012, and later said she was unsure if it happened in 2011 or 2012.
Also, following a morning break when she resumed answering Vega’s queries, she claimed that Graves had thrown her down on the bed “about a dozen times” during their relationship.
During cross-examination by Graves’ San Francisco lawyer Darlene Bagley Comstedt, the witness agreed that the door incident actually produced no visible injury or bruising on her and that she told Morgan Hill police the wound in her mouth took only a day to heal.
She also conceded with Comstedt’s statement that Graves could not see her through the wooden door, that he said he did not intend to harm her and apologized afterwards. The defense attorney also had the witness explain that a metal prong on a broken part of her key chain is what punctured her finger and that Graves told her he did not mean to do that.
In the alleged rape case against the defendant, prosecutors claim that at about 2 a.m. on Sept. 22, 2013, Graves and a second police officer responded to a call about an argument between the victim and her husband after the couple had been drinking alcohol at their San Jose residence.
The woman told the officers she wanted to spend the night at a hotel in San Jose where she used to work and Graves drove her there at about 2:30 a.m. Prosecutors allege that Graves 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.
Graves’ accuser did not report the alleged sexual assault until Oct. 15, 2013, when she spoke to police while being booked on suspicion of DUI in San Jose, prosecutors said. During today’s hearing, Graves’ former girlfriend told Vega that Graves liked to “role play” sometimes in their romantic encounters with him playing a uniformed police officer.
In her cross-examination, Comstedt got the witness to admit that the woman and Graves both initiated the role playing and that the woman had sent texts to him asking him to wear his uniform.