Ex-CoCo sex crimes prosecutor Gressett sues

Former Contra Costa sex crimes prosecutor Michael Gressett filed a sweeping lawsuit in Superior Court in Martinez today alleging that nearly every agency and person involved in his 2008 aborted rape case engaged in defamation and politically motivated malicious prosecution. Read full story here.

The defendant list includes Contra Costa County and its district attorney’s office along with a handful of its current and former deputy district attorneys and investigators. He also named the state and several deputy attorney generals; Martinez and several officers; retired District Attorney Bob Kochly; and unsuccessful 2010 district attorney candidate Dan O’Malley, and O’Malley’s former law partner, Tom McKenna.

Gressett, who learned in February that the state would not refile rape charges after a judge threw the case out on procedural grounds, seeks unspecified awards for lost wages and benefits, emotional distress, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

A contract deputy district attorney accused Gressett of raping her in May 2008 at his Martinez apartment. She said he used ice cubes, an ice pick and a gun.

Gressett said the sex was rough but consensual.

An independent arbitrator later ruled the allegations unsubstantiated and a Superior Court judge threw the case out after state prosecutors failed to disclose a $450,000 settlement to the alleged victim, among other procedural problems.

Read the full complaint here: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/121728287/Michael-Gressett-lawsuit

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Truthclubber

    Let me be the first to ignite this “prairie fire” over this topic that “Queen Lisa” has once again brought to our attention:

    1) I’m sorry, but am I alone in not giving a $#!+ about this POS, Michael Gressett?

    2) Here for your reading pleasure is some other coverage of this “non-story”, unless you see it differently, are “titillating-challenged”, and need your ya-yas charged up…

    3) This perp (I could use harsher words, but this IS a family blog) admitted that he engaged in “rough sex” with someone 18 years younger than himself (which means she could have been his daughter) and did it in his dwelling, over lunch, and that she was his subordinate (as well as being a contractor, so she could be very easily “fired”) — so she was hardly in a position to say no to someone who could get her fired…and those are all FACTS, not opinion.

    4) Given all of the above, perhaps there IS a reason why he was defeated in his THREE attempts to get a promotion through the ballot box — since to some people, character DOES matter.

    5) Can we move on here — since this seems to be the only thing Lisa Vorderbrueggen wants to fixate on — and talk about real issues that affect real people in this crucial election year?

    6) I know I am in for a pilloring from some readers, since I am attacking a “sacred [no, I won’t mention THAT bovine animal, that would get me even more derision] person”, but has anyone else noticed how little of substance she contributes lately to the general discourse of national “affairs”? (Pun intended.)

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Truthclubber, I’ll be sure and pass on your observations about my story assignments to the editors. Since I am no longer assigned to cover national or even state politics in our greatly diminished ranks, and we are down to one statewide political reporter (my esteemed colleague Josh Richman), I am certain the editors will see the light and reverse course immediately. If only you had spoken up sooner! But sadly, whatever “sacred cow” status you have (incorrectly, I am confident) ascribed to me has dissipated along with all the people who used to sit in the desks around me. Lisa v.

    (Sorry about the typo, Josh! Fixed. See, online is good.)

  • Elwood

    Some people seem to have a lot of time on their hands to post lengthy idiotic rants.

  • Truthclubber

    I’m not surprised by the staff assignment decisions made by your editors.

  • Truthclubber

    @2 —

    P.S. It’s “Richman”, not “Richmond”.

    Details, details…as he is, by your words, an “esteemed colleague”, a correct spelling of HIS LAST NAME might be in order.

    Just sayin’…after all, this IS still journalism.

  • JohnW

    Cha-ching! None of us witnessed the events in question, but none can doubt that the matter was handled in an incredibly boneheaded and prejudicial manner. Who wouldn’t sue under the circumstances?

    I hope Lisa’s comment means that she is giving her full attention to local and county politics and governance. I shudder to think of the shenanigans that would go unreported without this newspaper’s coverage. Think it’s bad now? Just imagine what would happen without the reporting. I thought about that the other day when the New Orleans newspaper went to 3 day-a-week publication.

  • Josh Richman

    @5 – Don’t worry yourself about the spelling of my name, Truthclubber, especially when you’re being such an unmitigated a–hole toward MY esteemed colleague. She’s one of the hardest working and most knowledgeable journalists in the Bay Area; you’re an anonymous hack throwing insults from the cheap seats. If you don’t like our story choices, feel free to take yourself elsewhere.

  • Rick K.

    Mr. Gressett was entrusted with prosecuting sex crimes in Contra Costa County — yet he was having rough “consensual” sex with a subordinate? Doesn’t such a relationship violate ethical standards, if not employment discrimination laws? Is such conduct acceptable by any prosecutor, no less a “sex crimes” specialist? If he thinks so little of women that he mistreats them (“consensually”) between closed doors, why should any rape or sexual assault victim trust him with prosecuting their attackers? Yet Mr. Gressett now has the audacity to sue the county to try to line his pockets with our tax dollars! It’s sad that our district attorney’s office can’t hire and retain better citizens to do these important jobs, but that office long has been a case study in dysfunctionality. I commend the Times/Political Blotter for continuing to cover the story.

  • Truth Seeker

    Truthclubber, If something offends you, don’t read it.

    I want to take the “O’Malley Challenge” as follows:

    “I spent my entire life trying help people and be honest with everyone,” he said, “so, I am very disappointed at what I read. The complaint alleges that I and twelve other people, together with the City of Martinez the County of Contra Costa and the State of California conspired to prosecute Gressett for rape growing out of rough sex he admits he had with a female victim. You figure it out!”

    First, I don’t recall Gressett ever admitting to rough sex with a female victim. However, I recall this accuser surfaced in your office and not at a police station.

    Also, the interview was attended by Alameda County DA Investigators who work for your sister who is the DA in Alameda. The female investigator from Alameda County was a campaign contributor of yours for your DA election bid 2010.

    Your next door neighbor, Mr. Baker, was the Chief Deputy DA in Contra Costa. The Asst. Chief Deputy DA in Contra Costa, “Punching Paul”, is one of your best friends and golfing buddies. These two friends of yours got the Chief of Police of Martinez to send an officer to your office meeting with the accuser. The Chief of Police no longer works for Martinez, but does work for your sister now in the Alameda DA office. All of these individuals donated money to your election campaign.

    Isn’t your neighbor, Mr Baker, married to an attorney who works for the AG office in SF that filed the case against Gressett? And, she made substantial financial contributions to your campaign.

    And, while no other woman came forward with a dispute concerning Gressett, you just happened to have a prostitute appear in your office with a sexually related complaint about Mr. Gressett. So, for the second time in a short period of time, you produce another accuser of Gressett in your office. You represented the prostitutes boyfriend, Roy Gordon, who was in jail on a no bail for assault with a deadly weapon. In exchange for your newfound prostitutes testimony to your two friends Baker and Paul, your client was immediately released in an unlawful backroom deal with Judge Haynes. Of course, Judge Haynes wife works as a court reporter for your wife.

    Meanwhile, your friend Paul runs a tainted investigation with the blessing of the District Attorney, Robert Kochly, who is your number one financial supporter in your bid to become DA.

    Mr. Peterson was your opponent for the DA race in 2010. Mr. Peterson was Gressett’s supervisor at the time of the alleged conduct. You made Mr. Peterson’s inability to supervise Gressett the centerpiece of your campaign! You spent thousands and thousands of dollars mailing this message. You even spent money polling this particular issue.

    Now, one of the women you produced against Gressett got 450K in a deal with Mr. Kochly only an hour before her testimony to a grand jury which she misled. Your prostitute admitted it was all a lie before testifying at the arbitration proceeding.

    And, now, you suggest we “…figure it out”.

    Well, this is a limited rendition regarding your conduct in the Gressett case, but I think it is safe to say, WE GOT IT FIGURED OUT.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Thanks, Josh! I don’t think people quite get how difficult it is, one, to remain employed in journalism these days, or two, want to remain employed in journalism these days. Just like our readers, we have had to adjust our expectations to meet the new digital world requirements. Some days are better than others!

  • Bruce R. Peterson Lafayette

    These comments are getting interesting. I had a long conversation with Mike Gressett, years ago. He knows entirely to much about the rampant corruption in C.C. County. Since I wasn’t a witness to the so called “rape”, I can’t say for sure what happened. I assume he was set up.
    @ Josh Richman. Where is this elsewhere we can go for local news? The hair salon? We have been stuck with the obviously corrupt C.C. Times for decades.
    @ Lisa V. I took your story about the February 7th BOS meeting to the BOS clerk to read. She screamed “baloney”. Well not exactly, but a B word meaning the same thing.

  • JohnW

    Re: #11

    “We have been stuck with the obviously corrupt C.C. Times for decades.”

    Well, I’ve heard of the “lame stream media” and “liberal bias” bogeymen. But this is the first time, I’ve heard a respected, award-winning newspaper referred to as “corrupt.” Care to defend that with any examples or facts? The corruption and incompetence is in local and state government, and the CC Times exposes it every week, thank goodness!

    “Where is this elsewhere we can go for local news?” Nowhere. That’s the point. If you think you can do a better job, try starting your own newspaper.

  • Elwood

    The ****ing Mr. Gressett’s associate allegedly got is nothing compared to the ****ing the county and other governmental agencies will soon be getting when Mr. Gressett wins his suits against them.

    Kiss your tax dollars goodbye.

  • PLEASE answer the following questions:

    [1] Did the sucker taxpayers already pay a huge amount of money to the alleged victim?

    [2] Will the sucker taxpayers be forced to pay the astronomical amount of money that the alleged perpetrator will likely receive?

    [3] Do all of the lawyers involved still have a license in good standing to practice law in California?

  • Bruce R. Peterson Lafayette

    @ #11 I have written more opposing arguments against local Parcel taxes than anyone anybody can name. They are published by The County Election’s Department & mailed to voters. The award winning C.C. Times writes headline stories that in all appearances, look like paid propaganda supporting these Parcel taxes. My arguments & existence are basically left out. Unless you count one sentence, near the end of the second page of the story. The sham (usually pro-tax) Lafayette Taxpayers Association is always mentioned.
    The CC Times gets awards for their photos. They have a Mercury News photo website that is fabulous.
    The way to make a small fortune, is to start with a large fortune & start a local newspaper. A recent example lives @ 338 Birchwood Drive in Moraga.

  • rew

    The number of law suits being filed agaisn’t the county because of actions taken by Mark Peterson or his subordinates continue to grow. Two former managers of the DA’s office – managers that were demoted when Peterson took office – have filed suit claiming Peterson has brought back a turn of the century spoils system, appointing managers who were political supporters of his while brooming those who were not. As newly elected DA Mark Peterson shoud have saw this coming, but he charged ahead and now you’ve got law suits by people who claim they were demoted for political reasons.
    Previously conduct by Peterson’s right hand man – Hal Jewett has led to another law suit being filed agaisn’t the County. Apparently jewet punched out a former co-worker, and now the county is stuck paying bills on that law suit. And now we have Gresset, also a top backer of the Mark Peterson for DA’s campaign, filing suit agaisn’t the county. His law suit is completely bogus, but he’s charging ahead as well. The county has already had to pay $400,000 to another former employee because of Gressets conduct. I mean they had to pay that lady off, Gresset was her boss, he waved guns and ice picks at her – the incident took place durring the lunch hour.
    Any time you have a lot of law suits flying in a city or a county that’s a sign of poor public management. You want to have responsibe people in public mangement jobs, people who know how to keep litigation to a minimum. Litigation is expensive – it’s a waste of tax dollars, litigation rewards lazy, do nothing lawyers, at the expensive of the hard working taxpayers.
    Given all these law suits – all as a result of conduct by Mark Peterson, or his underlings, I see no way you can make a case Peterson is doing a good job, or that his election to the DA’s job is a breath of fresh air. Look at all the law suit flying, this is a sure sign of bad management. You also have to wonder about Peterson choice of friends, I mean Jewett is punching people out at the office, Gresset is waving guns and ice picks at co-workers, and we taxpayers are stuck with the legal bills for all this unprofessional conduct.
    I hope two years from now when Peterson is up for re-elction a responsible candidate will step forward and take him on. We need to have good publivc managers in the DA’s office, responsible people, we don’t ahve that now.

  • JohnW

    Re: #16

    So, you’re suggesting that, had Mark Peterson lost to Dan O’Malley, one of those being sued, that the county would not now have these lawsuits on its hands? Somehow, I doubt that.

    Who knows whether the staff reassignments or demotions were rewards to supporters or part of cleaning up the mess Peterson’s predecessor left behind? I’d like to think the latter, and I voted for Peterson. But we’ll see.

  • Elwood

    “His (Gressett’s) law suit is completely bogus”

    After the county and others pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to Gressett, I think you’ll be whistling out of the other side of your mouth.

  • Truth Seeker


    You seem to have strong opinions with no facts to support them. Perhaps, you are bitter supporter from the losing side of the DA election.

    The Deputy District Attorneys who voted in a Union system several years ago so they could get involved with electoral politics brought this pox upon themselves. Deputy DA’s should focus on their jobs and not their benefit package or the elected official. But, if you play with fire, don’t cry when you get burnt.

    The most serious suit against the County is the one you claim is bogus. And, Mr. Peterson has nothing to do with that as it is all directed at the previous DA, Robert Kochly. If half the allegations in that complaint are proven, the county could be looking at a nine figure jury verdict. It will be the largest award, to date, in our county. And, Mr. Peterson will have had nothing to do with it.

    Interestingly, the county did not pay a woman for Gressett’s conduct. The county claims to have paid the money because of Mr. Kochly’s handling of her complaint.

    As to Peterson being sued for reassigning lawyers in his office, on its face, you would think the elected DA should be able to do that.

    We will see what comes of the litigation various people bring. I don’t think the number of lawsuits surrounding a bitter takeover of the DA office from a group that controlled it for 50 years is indicative of the new DA’s job performance. Time will tell.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    I really like truth seeker’s comments. It looks like he/she digs through campaign donation records and actually read & understood the entire 18 page complaint.
    Way back in 1996, someone from the D.A.s office was planted in Lafayette’s public works department to entrap & terminate a whistle blower. I had a hard time convincing the editor of the C.C. Sun to investigate the story. She finally published the City Manager’s version of the story, months after he denied the truth. He escaped to Manteca.
    In 2007, I put the story in an argument against a parcel tax. The city of Lafayette squandered $13,400 on a San Diego lawyer to have 65 words of truth removed from my argument. Everyone @ Lafayette City Hall denies responsibility for ordering the lawyer. There were only 3 suspects. One recently died. Her campaign contributors list, mirrored the former D.A. Yancy’s list.

  • JohnW

    Re: #19

    “As to Peterson being sued for reassigning lawyers in his office, on its face, you would think the elected DA should be able to do that.”

    Ditto to that!