June 4, 2009

Jury selection starts in Joseph Griesa sexual assault trial

Joseph Griesa


June 4, 2009

Jury selection was under way Wednesday in Yuba County Superior Court in the trial of Marysville towing company manager Joseph Griesa, who is facing multiple charges of sexually assaulting teenage girls who worked for him.

Opening statements by attorneys could take place as early as today according to Yuba County District Attorney Pat McGrath.

Griesa is charged with 13 felonies. He is free on $100,000 bail.

Charges include sexual battery, false imprisonment, assault likely to produce great bodily injury, forcible sexual penetration, oral copulation with a minor and concealment of a child from her legal guardian.

The alleged offenses involve five victims and occurred between April 2005 and November 2007. Each felony is punishable by three to eight years in prison.

A grand jury considered evidence from 21 witnesses. An indictment also charges that Griesa paid the girls without making unemployment insurance payments to the state.

Griesa pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is represented by Redwood City attorney Charles Smith.

In a related case, two Yuba-Sutter attorneys are charged with trying to bribe one of the alleged victims and with obstruction of justice. Prosecutors say Marysville attorney David Vasquez, who briefly represented Griesa, conspired with Yuba City attorney Jesse Santana to pay the girl $100,000 in exchange for her silence.

The attorneys claim they did nothing wrong by pursuing a civil settlement between Griesa and the girl and that police led them to believe criminal prosecution of Griesa was unlikely.

Arraignment of the attorneys was delayed this week until June 29. Neither has entered a plea to the felony charges.


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