The San Jose cop accused of raping an undocumented woman was charged Tuesday with committing another crime -- felony domestic violence for allegedly injuring his then-girlfriend in unrelated incidents.
The two new charges against Officer Geoffrey Graves -- involving a different woman than the alleged rape victim -- raises the stakes for a police department whose once-bright image already has been dimmed by budget cutbacks, a pension battle and the mass defection of officers to other agencies.
The latest charge is unrelated not only to the rape, but also to a 2011 incident in which his ex-wife obtained an emergency protective order. In the midst of a contentious custody battle with Graves, the ex-wife alleged having a violent road encounter with him and voiced fears about her safety. Graves denied the allegations and successfully fought her attempts to obtain a restraining order that would have prevented him from possessing firearms and effectively ended his police career.
Graves, who is on paid administrative leave, now faces up to about 12 years if he is convicted of the rape and two separate incidences of alleged domestic violence. His lawyer declined to comment Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges. Graves is free after posting $100,000 bail in March and appeared in court Tuesday in a blue shirt and black slacks.
Prosecutor Carlos Vega said outside of court that the officer struggled over a set of keys with his then girlfriend on Dec. 26, 2012. Her hands were cut in the struggle with the larger officer. The second incident with the then-girlfriend occurred some time between March and June of 2013, he said. The two were in an argument at a home. She fled, shutting a door behind her, and he allegedly bashed it open, slamming her in the face hard enough to cut her lips, he said.
Vega said the case remains under investigation, with officers "constantly seeking out new leads." Asked whether the officer has a history of disrespect toward his then-girlfriend and other women, Vega said "After looking at all the evidence, we were conservative in charging not only what we could definitively prove but what falls within the three-year statute of limitations."
The rape charges against the officer, whose department has struggled to build trust with the city's immigrant communities, stem from a Sept. 22 family disturbance call.
The woman, who is in the country illegally, did not report the incident until she was arrested three weeks later on suspicion of drunken driving. Prosecutors have said they have DNA evidence bolstering the sexual assault charge and that the woman never requested or was given leniency in exchange for reporting Graves.
She pleaded no contest to the DUI charge and was sentenced to three years' probation, nine days in county jail if she violates probation and eight days on the weekend work program, most likely cleaning up freeways. She also was ordered to pay fines and fees of about $1,900. She has no prior criminal record, according to court documents.
According to court documents, the sexual encounter between her and Graves came after police responded to a call about the argument she and her husband were having. No arrests were made. She chose to stay at a nearby hotel that night and was escorted by two officers, including Graves.
Investigators have said the woman checked into a room, and eventually one of the officers left to answer another police call, but Graves stayed behind. After waiting a short time, police said, Graves returned to the woman's room, overpowered her and "forcibly engaged in sexual intercourse with the victim before leaving the hotel approximately 10 minutes later." He took off his shirt but wore his bulletproof vest, which investigators confiscated from his police locker.
Even if the domestic violence charges are reduced to misdemeanors, they may persuade a jury that the officer is capable of rape.
Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482. Follow her at Twitter.com/tkaplanreport.