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No retrial for Pullman sergeant accused of sexual misconduct

WHITMAN CO., Wash. - The Whitman County Prosecutor will not retry former Pullman Police officer Dan Hargraves on custodial sexual misconduct charges.

A mistrial was declared on September 19 after the jury was unable to reach a verdict on Hargraves’ charges. Only some of the jurors were convinced of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

When a mistrial is declared, a re-trial is allowed, however that will not be the case for this trial.

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“I very much want to go forward with the case again, since I believe the facts are there to support a conviction,” says Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy. “However, the victim in the case is not willing to go through the additional trauma and indignity of another trial. Realistically, I cannot and will not force her to go through this again, and our system does not allow a criminal trial without her testimony. Therefore, the case is at an end.”

He also remarked that he would not hesitate to compel the other witnesses in the trial to appear and testify at the re-trial, but since the victim is not willing, he believes to force her to testify “would truly be to re-victimize her.”

“The victim in this case has gone through a lot, and I admire the courage that she showed to come forward in the first place,” Tracy says. “Now I have to respect her decision.”

Hargraves was accused of forcing a WSU student to perform oral sex on him when she thought she was being arrested last March.

The young woman said she had been drinking at several parties the night of the incident. Court documents showed Hargraves saw her stumbling and obviously intoxicated, then advised her to get in the back seat of his patrol car and took her to her dorm. He gave her a warning for her intoxication.

The young woman was approached again that night by a WSU Police sergeant. According to court documents, Hargraves heard the student's name on the police radio and told the WSU officer he had contacted her earlier in the night.

Court documents stated Hargraves told the woman, "You disobeyed me. I told you not to leave your dorm before. Now, I have to take you to the station because you didn't obey my orders."

The student said he did not place her in handcuffs, but she thought she was under arrest.

While in the back seat of the patrol car, the student was crying and pleading with Hargaves. "I'll do anything not to get arrested," she reportedly told him.

Hargraves allegedly said, "What are you willing to do?" The student said she was willing to pay him a good sum of money.

Cell phone data showed the student ended up at the Reaney Park area. She said "he opened her door, instructed her to get out and get down on her knees... [she] remembered hearing him undo his pants. [She] has a vague recollection of performing oral sex on Hargraves."

The young woman said Hargraves then instructed her to get back in the police vehicle and he dropped her off at Rogers Hall where her friends were expecting her.

Five days later, the student reported the incident to the Office for Equal Opportunities. Hargraves' patrol vehicle was swabbed for DNA, but nothing was found. DNA found on the student's sleeve matched Hargraves' DNA.

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