From: Eureka Times-Standard
By Will Houston 3/24/15
After a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, a former Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office sergeant was held to answer on two felony sexual assault charges related to the alleged August 2013 groping of a woman in Eureka while she was detained during a disturbance call.
Jason Scott Daniels, 41, is set to be re-arraigned next month on the charges.
District Attorney Maggie Fleming said in a news release that charges involving a separate alleged on-duty groping of a second woman were reduced to a misdemeanor.
Daniels sat in the courtroom with his two East Bay attorneys, Julia Fox and Steven Betz, while both women gave sometimes explicit testimony during the hearing. He has pleaded not guilty.
The Times-Standard does not identify alleged sexual assault victims. Jane Doe 1 testified that Daniels handcuffed her after responding to a disturbance call, then forced her against the hood of his patrol vehicle, groped and pushed against her, and reached his hand under her skirt while asking, “Do you like it?”
She said the incident caused her to fear for her safety and testified that someone threatened to kill her if she testified against Daniels.
Daniels was employed at the sheriff’s office from 2000 until being separated from his employment on Feb. 19, 2014. He was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 17, 2013, the day before his arrest by district attorney’s office investigators.
Jane Doe 1 testified that Daniels was “basically feeling me up” during the search. She said that she “began to laugh” because she thought it was “stupid” for an officer to be doing something like that but went along with it because she was “afraid that he was gonna hurt me.” She said he was waving a flashlight “trying to blind traffic” and any passing witnesses while he groped her, but her boyfriend at the time and her friend saw what happened.
Jane Doe 1 said she agreed to take a ride from Daniels so he could drop off her friend because she decided she was “going to be going along with whatever he’s thinking in his crazy a– mind.”
After her friend was dropped off, she said she got in the front seat and that Daniels asked her for a sex act, which she refused. Jane Doe 1 said that Daniels said to her, “I hope you don’t say anything about what happened because I could get into a lot of trouble.”
After being arrested for a separate incident, Jane Doe 1 said she saw Daniels in a jail hallway, which brought back “nightmares” and “memories” that led her to go to the District Attorney’s Office.
Jane Doe 1 said she had sex with men for money, with one incident near Hoopa in November 2014 leading to her receiving a death threat and having a “gun put to my head” by a man who told her that they both know Daniels. Jane Doe 1 testified that she did not know whether there was any way Daniels knew or was behind the threats.
The defense argued that Jane Doe 1’s “activity” was not “of a person who has been violently, sexually assaulted” and that any encounter with Daniels was “strictly consensual” should it have happened.
Another woman, identified as Jane Doe 2, testified that Daniels pulled her over on the Samoa Bridge sometime around the night of March 13, 2013. She said Daniels touched her breasts over her clothes while searching her and pulled down her pants to prove that she was not hiding anything from him. The defense argued that the action of touching a woman over her clothing was not enough evidence to hold Daniels to answer to a sexual battery charge and the visiting judge hearing the case dismissed the charge based on insufficient evidence.
Daniels is set to appear in court for an arraignment on his charges on April 7 at 2 p.m.