SEATTLE — Walking into his court appearance Wednesday, Danford Grant looked like his old self: polished and respectable. Bespectacled with a thick mane of dark hair and a confident gate, Grant gave no indication as to the double life he had been leading.
“He has disappointed his family, his law partners, a lot of people. His dark side became a nightmare for so many of these women,” said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
Grant seemed to have a perfect life. In 2012 he was a partner in a successful Seattle law firm, was married to a Seattle prosecutor and had two children, but within the walls of their North Seattle home lurked a very sick man.
“He has some problems that he’s dealing with,” said his attorney Richard Hansen.
On Wednesday Grant admitted to raping five Seattle masseuses in 2011 and 2012. Prosecutors say he intimidated the Asian immigrants into sex thinking they wouldn’t go to police because of shame or their history in the sex trade. In at least one case he brandished a knife.
“These are women who live in the margins of society. Many of them don’t speak English,” said Satterberg.
Prosecutors agreed to a plea deal that would lessen the charges from first degree rape to third and avoid the possibility of life in prison for Grant. In exchange, he would plead guilty to five counts instead of two. Both sides conceded they were worried about bringing their cases before a jury.
Satterberg said the deal brought justice and relief to the victims.
“They’ve been involved in the world of massage parlors,” said Satterberg. “They knew this would be tough, and frankly they didn’t want to be in a room with this guy again.”
Grant’s attorney says his client is a recovering addict who seemed to have vanquished other demons, only to see them replaced by a new one.
“He’s had a lifetime of addiction problems. He’s been clean and sober for 28 years. He’s been struggling with depression and sexual addiction,” said Hansen.
”I’m not even sure it’s a real addiction, but it’s a convenient thing to say,” countered Satterberg. “This isn’t about sex. When you’re intimidating women, kicking in doors and pulling knives on them, this is about power.”
Third degree rape means no force was used, but the women did not consent to sex. During the investigation a hidden camera video from one of the massage parlors surfaced showing one of the victims engaging in prostitution, muddying the prosecution’s case for a stronger conviction. Prosecutors were quick to point out that rape is rape, regardless of whether the person is a prostitute.
Grant agreed to a sentence of 25 years with eligibility for parole in 15.
“Dan Grant is a good person,” said his attorney. “This is very difficult for him.”
Added Satterberg, “He was getting more bold. I don’t know where it was going to end, but it ended today in a courtroom and the community is safer because if it.”
Grant's sentencing is set for May 19.