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Rape charges won’t be refiled against Contra Costa County, Calif., prosecutor


This news story was published on February 15, 2012.
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By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — A Contra Costa County, Calif., sex crimes prosecutor accused of raping a colleague during their lunch hour will not be recharged with the crime, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said Tuesday.

A judge in October dismissed sexual assault charges against Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Michael Gressett after determining that county and state prosecutors failed to inform a grand jury of potentially exculpatory evidence.

A spokeswoman for Harris declined to comment on the decision.

A junior prosecutor who worked with Gressett said he raped her in May 2008 in an assault that involved an ice pick, ice and handcuffs. Gressett said the sex was consensual.

The woman later collected a $450,000 settlement from the county after alleging she was denied a permanent job in retaliation for the rape charge. She now practices law in Florida.

The case revealed a raucous, sexually charged atmosphere in the D.A.’s sex crimes unit, where prosecutors boasted of belonging to an anal sex club. Prosecutors are now required to receive training in what constitutes sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

Daniel Russo, Gressett’s attorney, said Gressett was unlikely to return to work in the prosecutors’ office and would sue the county for malicious prosecution and civil rights violations.

The county fired Gressett after a grand jury indicted him, but a labor arbitrator reinstated him with back wages. Russo said he did not expect Gressett to return to the D.A.’s office. “After what he went through, it would be difficult for him to prosecute anybody,” Russo said.

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