27 years after death, a verdict of not guilty - and fresh anger

STAR TRIBUNE (Mpls.-St. Paul) Newspaper of the Twin Cities

Date: 02/19/2010


Prosecution alleged a pattern of intimidation against a woman, but the defense questioned why the case even went to trial.

After deliberating less than an hour, a jury acquitted a former Stillwater police officer Friday on charges that he stalked and groped an Oak Park Heights woman while he was in uniform.

Scott G. Geving, 51, was found not guilty of all four charges against him: one felony count of pattern harassing conduct, one gross misdemeanor count of stalking, and two gross misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Defense attorney Earl Gray, in closing arguments to the jury, said the prosecution’s case rested on a single 20-minute phone call an investigator made to the woman and said no follow-up detective work had been done to determine the accuracy of her allegations.

“The man’s charged with four serious crimes based on a telephone call,” Gray said. “Nothing was done afterwards. Nothing. How in God’s name did we get here today?”

After the verdict, Gray questioned why the case was even charged.

Gray had tried Thursday to persuade Judge Michael Roith to throw the case out. “If there had been a prior investigation of this it never would have been in the courtroom.” Gray said, but Roith denied Gray’s motion for dismissal.

Prosecutor Larry Clark, in his closing arguments Friday morning, told the jury that Geving, of Marine on St. Croix, intimidated the woman by parking his squad car outside her house on “multiple occasions” in 2006 and 2007 and called her as many as 20 times in a single day.

Clark also told the jury that the woman had testified that Geving forced her hand to his crotch and reached inside her shirt to touch her breast.

But Gray portrayed the woman as having a faulty memory and said there was no corroborating evidence of her allegations.

“Justice was done,” he said after the verdict.

Geving, a divorced father of three children, served 11 years with the Stillwater department. He’s an Air Force veteran and also worked as a part-time police officer in Bayport and as a bailiff for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

In October, Geving was acquitted in a similar case where he had been accused of groping a Stillwater motel night clerk while he was on police duty.

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