UPDATE: Former Benton Harbor officer accused of wrongdoing found dead from apparent suicide
By Ryan Klund
BENTON HARBOR - A former Benton Harbor police officer was arrested today and is now facing prison time if convicted of sexual assault allegations.
42-year-old Jared Graves, a 14-year veteran employee of the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety was arrested at his home today by Michigan State Police.
Graves mostly sat in silence Thursday afternoon over a video transmission from the jail while the judge read off charges. Graves faces felonies: two for criminal sexual conduct, one for misconduct in office and another for delivery of marijuana.
According to charging documents, on October 5th, Graves investigated a reported smell of marijuana at the Harbor Towers apartment complex right across the street from the police station. Graves took the weed from a 24-year-old woman but never busted her.
According to the complaint, two days later he called the woman to the department, took her in a storage room and threatened to arrest her if she didn’t perform sexual acts on him. He gave the drugs back when it was over.
On November 15th Graves called the victim to back to the department and said he could still charge her with marijuana possession if she didn’t have sex with him.
Roger Lange, Director of Public Safety, said he reacted with “disappointment and disgust” when he learned about the allegations. Lange says within hours the department started an internal investigation into Graves.
Lange said video surveillance of the building confirmed the allegations. “These cameras came in very useful in obtaining evidence needed to prove the allegations,” he said. Lange says within 12 hours of the victim coming forward Graves was taken off of patrol work and within days Graves resigned from his position.
Lange says the department moved fast and this type of behavior will not be tolerated. “This department is going to be accountable for its actions and every officer here will be held accountable for their actions,” he said.
According to the documents, Graves admitted most of the allegations except he says the sex with the victim was consensual.