Seattle lawyer pleads guilty to raping masseuses

Seattle lawyer pleads guilty to raping masseuses
SEATTLE (AP) - A Seattle lawyer has pleaded guilty to reduced charges of raping masseuses in exchange for a 25-year sentence, avoiding a trial that could have earned him up to life in prison.

"Danford Grant carefully chose these women to be the victims of his violent rape ambitions," King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said after the court hearing. "He counted on them being too afraid to call police."

Grant, a married father of three and formerly a partner in a Seattle law firm, admitted raping the five women in 2011 and 2012. He pleaded guilty Wednesday to third-degree rape, as opposed to original charges of first-degree rape. He also pleaded guilty to a burglary charge.

Grant's lawyer, Richard Hansen, noted that by pleading guilty to third-degree rape, Grant did not admit using force to coerce the women, but that he had sex with them without their consent.

The deal saves the victims from having to testify at his trial, Satterberg said.

"He knew that these women lived in the margins of a society where some did not speak English fluently, and where cultural shame surrounding sexual abuse is a powerful force mandating secret suffering," he said.

Grant believed many people would see the case as "commercial transactions gone awry," Satterberg added.

A business and employment lawyer, Grant previously worked in the Seattle City Attorney's Office. His sentencing is set for May 19.