May trial set for ex-Modesto cop accused of sex assault

12/03/2012 5:05 PM

12/03/2012 11:34 PM

A judge on Monday scheduled a trial to start May 29 for a former Modesto police officer accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a motel room while on duty and in uniform.

Lee Freddie Gaines, 27, has been charged with oral copulation by force, being armed with a firearm while committing a sexual offense, sexual battery and assault under color of authority.

The alleged victim, a 37-year-old woman, testified to a criminal grand jury that she was working as a prostitute at the Modesto motel.

She testified that she got a call for service and the officer came to her motel room. She said the officer handcuffed her and demanded oral sex.

Gaines has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains free on bail.

On Monday, Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Marie Silveira said in court that the trial is expected to last about three weeks.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Harris informed the judge that the prosecution has offered a plea deal, but Gaines rejected the offer.

The attorneys did not discuss in court the details of the offer.

Silveira scheduled Gaines to return to court March 11 so the attorneys can help her create a juror questionnaire that will ensure he receives a fair, impartial jury.

Mary Lynn Belsher, Gaines' attorney, told the judge she is concerned some potential jurors might have been influenced by news coverage.

Belsher has argued that Gaines told a police sergeant he went to see the woman at the motel because he was trying to turn her into an informant.

In his closing argument to the grand jury, Harris said Gaines was looking for a prostitute on a Web site with illicit advertisements and took advantage of the woman at the motel.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or (209) 578-2394.

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