Victims’ advocates tell of suffering of Grant’s rape victims at sentencing
A Seattle attorney turned serial rapist who preyed on vulnerable immigrant women was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison.
Seattle Times staff reporter
None of Seattle attorney Danford Grant’s five victims were in court Monday when he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for raping them.
They didn’t want to see his face, or his terrifying gaze, ever again, several of the women wrote in emotional statements read in King County Superior Court.
The statements, read by victims advocates from the King County Prosecutor’s Office and Sexual Assault Resource Center, spoke chillingly of the victims’ terror, the nightmares and anxiety they continue to suffer, and how Grant changed from a seemingly civil man to a violent predator in mere moments.
“I now suspect every male customer,” wrote one woman, who, like all of the other victims, is a massage therapist. She added that she is “particularly afraid of men who seem well-mannered and friendly.”
Grant’s sentence was all but preordained after his attorneys reached a plea agreement with prosecutors on May 7 just as his trial was about to begin.
Grant pleaded guilty to five counts of third-degree rape and one count of first-degree burglary. Attorneys on both sides agreed to recommend that Grant serve five years for each rape count, though he could be released after serving 15 years if he accrues “good time” behind bars.
The plea deal allowed Grant to avoid an indeterminate sentence, in which a state board can add additional time to a prison sentence up to life behind bars. Grant, 49, will have to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
Grant, a married father of three who specialized in employment and business litigation, was arrested in September 2012 after a series of sexual assaults on five massage therapists in Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue in 2011 and 2012.
Investigators wrote in court documents that Grant carefully planned his attacks, using the Internet to research rape scenes and massage businesses, booking appointments under fake names and only with establishments that had both Asian owners and employees. In some cases, he feigned kindness and spoke of love and marriage to the massage therapists, at times claiming he was a widower.
Then, he would ask for sexual favors and rape the women when they declined, police and prosecutors said.
Detectives theorized that the women were targeted because they are “particularly vulnerable” as non-English speakers or relatively new immigrants.
Grant was arrested Sept. 24, 2012, near a massage clinic in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, where police say he raped a massage therapist a couple of weeks after raping the same woman at knife point, according to the documents. Employees of the clinic chased down Grant and held him for police.
Grant’s wife, then-Supervising Assistant City Prosecutor Jennifer Grant, came under fire when it was revealed she had moved his vehicle from near the Greenwood clinic after his arrest. The SUV wasn’t at Grant’s home or office when police served search warrants at those locations, according to an affidavit.
It wasn’t until Oct. 21, 2012, nearly a month after Grant’s arrest, that an attorney representing Jennifer Grant contacted police and revealed the SUV’s location, the affidavit says.
Grant’s wife was reassigned and later left the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.
In court Monday, the statements by Grant’s victims revealed the pain they still suffer as a result of the attacks.
One victim, a 47-year-old immigrant from China, wrote that she has nightmares and anxiety and cannot use kitchen knives similar to the one he threatened her with. She wrote that she could not believe “a lawyer would attack weak Asian women.”
Another woman, a 54-year-old native of Hong Kong who was attacked in her own home, wrote that she does not know if she can live down the shame and humiliation.
A third victim said she has moved numerous times since the attack in an unsuccessful attempt to recover the sense of security Grant took from her.
Grant’s attorney, Richard Hansen, said his client had a tough life. He had recovered from alcoholism but still suffered from depression and sex addiction, Hansen said Monday.
Grant, speaking before he was sentenced, said he had asked family, friends and supporters not to attend the hearing and, indeed, his side of the court was nearly empty.
He thanked Judge William Downing for the opportunity to speak and said proudly that he’d written his own statement.
In it, he apologized to his family and his victims and said he deserved to go to prison.
“I want to use this opportunity to acknowledge I have committed wrong and to express my deep regret for the emotional pain that I have caused,” he said. “I recognize that my behavior was reprehensible and know that I should be punished and that prison is a just punishment.”
In issuing the agreed-upon sentence of 25 years, Downing spoke of the victims who simply knew Grant as “the bad man” before his arrest gave a name to their attacker.
Of the women, he said, “Their strength is as formidable as their innocence is unsullied.”
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
Christine Clarridge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org