Prosecutor decides not to retry sexual misconduct case

Jury could not reach verdict, victim chose not to retry Hargraves



The Evergreen works to provide the best information about recent crime and court updates in the Pullman area.

JAYCE CARRAL, Evergreen reporter

By the victim’s request, the Whitman County Prosecutor will not be retrying former Pullman Police Sgt. Jerry Daniel Hargraves for first-degree custodial sexual misconduct.

Hargraves’ trial ended Sept. 19, 2019 in a mistrial.

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy said the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on whether or not Hargraves was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Tracy was deciding whether or not to retry the case, according to The Daily Evergreen. The Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office issued a press release stating Tracy would not be retrying the case.

In the press release, Tracy said his decision was based upon the victim’s request to not retry.

Tracy said he approached the victim the day the trial was declared a mistrial and asked her if she wanted him to retry it.

“I came to the conclusion that I very much wanted to retry the case, but the victim took some time to think it over carefully,” he said.

He said the victim told him on Oct. 9 that she did not want to testify again and therefore did not want to retry Hargraves.

“She was not willing to go through the additional trauma and indignity of another trial of having to come back and testify and go through it all again in front of the jury,” he said. “And I won’t force her to go through the trial process again.”

Tracy said by law, witnesses must testify in person and be cross-examined by the defense. He said he believes the outcome would have been different if the case had been retried.

“I think that there was – is – enough evidence to support a conviction,” he said. “I can never predict with certainty what a jury will do, at any particular case, but I was very ready and willing to try.”

According to the Arrest Warrant, the court issued an arrest warrant Oct. 29, 2018 after stating Hargraves was unlikely to respond to a court summons. Hargraves was arrested Oct. 30, 2018 by the Washington State Patrol. He resigned from his position as Pullman police sergeant on Nov. 26.

According to the Pretrial Release Order, Hargraves remained in custody until Oct. 30, 2018 when he was released on personal recognizance, which means Hargraves’s release is contingent on his agreement to appear at all following court dates and not engage in any criminal activity.

Hargraves was also not allowed to contact the victim during his release, according to the Pretrial Release Order.

According to the Information for Custodial Sexual Misconduct in the First Degree, Class C Felony court document, Hargraves was charged with custodial sexual misconduct in the first degree, which is a class C felony, on Oct. 29, 2018.

Hargraves allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse with the victim, a WSU student, when she was in his custody, according to the document.

According to the State’s Motion In-Limine to Exclude Evidence of Victim’s Sexual Behavior court document, the defense was not allowed to present the victim’s sexual behavior prior to the incident as evidence. The defense was also not allowed to present the victim’s sexual behavior, if any, after the incident as evidence.

The incident began with the victim’s arrest for public intoxication of a minor, according to the Motion In-Limine. After the victim was placed in the squad car, she “offered to do ‘anything’ to avoid being taken to the police station” or having her parents find out, according to the Motion In-Limine.

The victim’s offer was to pay money, instead Hargraves allegedly took her to a secluded spot and engaged in a sexual act with her, according to the Motion In-Limine. Hargraves then allegedly drove the victim to her dorm where he released her.

The incident took place March 31, 2018.

According to the Declaration of Roger Sandberg in Support of Motion to Suppress DNA Evidence court document, the defense moved to suppress the evidence from court.

The defense argued the DNA found on the victim’s clothes tested negative for acid phosphatase, meaning it tested negative for the presence of semen, according to the document. The Declaration was issued April 22, 2019.

According to the Protective Order, materials discovered during the case must stay in the defense attorney’s possession. The materials included electronic and photographic images, as well as information, images, screenshots and text messages from the victim’s phone.

The Protective Order was issued Nov. 30, 2018.

The crime of first-degree custodial sexual misconduct is defined by elements which include that the victim was in the custody of a law enforcement officer, that the perpetrator of the crime was said law enforcement officer and that there was a sexual act, according to the Motion In-Limine.

Consent or lack of is not relevant to the definition of the crime and it cannot be used as a defense, according to the Motion In-Limine.

The Motion In-Limine was filed Aug. 22, 2019

According to the Waiver of Speedy Trial, Hargraves waived his right to a speedy trial. In most cases, a trial is held within a time limit of 60 days of the commencement date if the defendant is detained in jail or 90 days if the defendant is not detained.

The commencement date for Hargraves’ trial was changed to Dec. 14, 2018, according to the Waiver. The agreement was signed by Hargraves, his defense attorney Roger Sandberg and Tracy.

The first day of Hargraves’ jury trial began Sept. 9, 2019. The trial lasted around two weeks.

Tracy said Hargraves may or may not be sued later by the victim and her family. He said that would be a private issue between the two parties.

Hargraves will have to pay court fees and any fees associated with his defense attorney, Tracy said.

The Whitman County Superior Court Judge Gary Libey will soon issue a formal dismissal order of Hargraves’ criminal case, Tracy said. Hargraves will not have a criminal record.

“There will be a record that he was charged with this crime, but that it was not proven and later dismissed,” he said.