Affidavits suggest rape suspect long targeted massage therapists
Danford Grant, a Seattle attorney accused in a series of rapes, appears to have been targeting Asian massage therapists for at least a year before allegedly committing the crimes that he’s been charged with, according to newly filed search-warrant affidavits.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Two of the five massage therapists who were allegedly raped by Seattle attorney Danford Grant say they fended off earlier attacks by him at least a full year before the sexual assaults he’s been charged with, according to recently filed search-warrant affidavits.
One of the three affidavits, filed last month in King County Superior Court, also reveals that DNA matched to one alleged victim was found in his underwear after his Sept. 24 arrest.
Grant, 47, has been charged with seven felonies, including four counts of first-degree rape involving alleged attacks on massage therapists in Bellevue, Shoreline and Seattle between June and September 2012, according to charging documents. He also is charged with second-degree rape, attempted second-degree rape and first-degree burglary.
All of the alleged victims are Asian women.
Grant, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, posted $1 million bail in October and is on electronic home detention while awaiting trial.
Richard Hansen, one of Grant’s defense attorneys, said Wednesday that “much of the DNA evidence actually favors the defense.” He declined to elaborate.
Grant “was a regular customer at massage parlors and that was occasionally a problem for him,” Hansen said. “But that does not mean he was raping anyone there.”
According to the newly filed search-warrant affidavits, police were granted permission to access cellphone records, including records for four cellphones owned by Grant; appointment books kept by the massage therapists; and digital-video recordings from a Greenwood massage clinic where two of the alleged rapes and an alleged attempted rape took place. They already have searched Grant’s house, downtown law office and vehicle.
The affidavits indicate that alleged victims in Bellevue and Shoreline had previous contacts with a man who later was identified as Grant. No new charges have been filed in connection with the earlier incidents.
Sometime in 2011, a man who called himself “Hunter” set up a massage appointment with a licensed masseuse in Bellevue, according to one affidavit. After receiving a massage, the man told her to remove her clothes, the affidavit says. When she refused, the man grabbed her and attempted to take off her pants but stopped when the woman began to cry, it says.
Later that year or sometime in 2012, a man named “Bob” made an appointment with the same woman and she gave him a massage without incident, the affidavit says. A few months later, “Bob” returned for another massage and asked the therapist out, but she refused, according to the affidavit.
“Bob” made a third appointment, but canceled because he said he had to go out of town for work, according to the affidavit. During that phone conversation, “Bob” told the masseuse she could call him “Dan,” it says.
“Dan” scheduled another appointment on Aug, 28, when he allegedly raped the 45-year-old massage therapist at knife point, according to charging papers. During that appointment, “Dan” told her “he believed that the reason she would not ever go out with him ... was because he had previously tried to rape her,” the affidavit says.
“Until he said this, (the alleged victim) had not recognized the person she knew as ‘Bob’ or ‘Dan’ as the same person as ’Hunter,’ ” it says.
Another alleged victim, 53, has also told Seattle police that she previously was attacked by a man she now identifies as Grant, one of the affidavits says.
In June 2011, the woman, while employed at Carnation Chinese Massage Clinic in Greenwood, was conducting a massage when Grant grabbed her, pushed her onto the massage bed, then against a wall as he retrieved a condom, it says.
“Grant stopped the assault and left” after hearing someone in the hallway outside the room vacuuming, according to the affidavit.
The woman quit her job at the Greenwood clinic and set up a massage clinic inside her Shoreline home, the affidavit says.
In late 2011, the same man from the June attack, using the names “Bob” and “Jim,” made separate appointments but wasn’t allowed inside after the woman recognized him, the affidavit says.
After one of the visits, the woman made a notation in her appointment book “that the ‘bad man’ had come to her house,” it says.
On Aug. 19, 2012, “Pete” set up an appointment; the woman opened her door with the chain in place and recognized “Pete” as the same man: “She tried to shut the door ... but he pushed through the door, breaking the chain,” and raped her, according to the affidavit. Grant has been charged in connection with that attack.
Grant was arrested Sept. 24 after he raped a massage therapist at the same Greenwood clinic and was chased by the clinic’s owner and two male friends, according to charging papers. It was that woman’s DNA that was found in Grant’s underwear, according to one affidavit.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org