Seattle lawyer charged with raping massage parlor workers pleads guilty
Posted May 7, 2014 1:28 PM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward
Danford Grant, the Seattle lawyer facing multiple rape charges involving five women who worked in massage parlors, pleaded guilty Wednesday to five counts of third-degree rape, and one count of burglary.
According to the Seattle Times, Grant faces a 25-year prison sentence. His trial was set to start Wednesday morning, but he entered guilty pleas one hour before it was scheduled to begin. KIROTV.com reported earlier Wednesday morning that Grant's lawyers would argue the massage parlors were fronts for prostitution, and the sex that occurred was consensual.
According to charging documents (PDF), Grant was arrested after raping a woman at knifepoint. He was eventually charged with attacks on five women. All of the women were reportedly Asian, and only one spoke fluent English, according to prosecutors.
Since Grant pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree rape for each woman, a message was sent to the victims that they were believed by the community despite their profession, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg told the Seattle Times. "Even somebody who works in a massage parlor can be raped," he said.
A former employment lawyer with the Seattle city attorney's office, the 49-year-old attorney was originally charged with seven felonies. In April, prosecutors added two more rape charges, the Seattle Times reports.
On Monday, the government dropped four of the nine felony charges against Grant. Prosecutors said that the decision was based on findings from additional investigation.
Jury selection for Grant's trial took almost three weeks. In pretrial motions, the Seattle Times reports, the court ruled that the jury could hear about his online searches for "rape scenes," and the discovery of a knife sheath and a bottle of an erectile-dysfunction drug found in his vehicle. The court would not let in evidence about Grant's alleged attraction to Asian women, or allegations that he sexually harassed co-workers.
Grant's sentencing is scheduled for May 19. The Seattle Times says that he declined to comment on his plea, but that he plans on making a statement at his sentencing hearing.
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