Judge Donald Eaton has granted former Orcas High School teacher Gerald Grellet-Tinner a new trial after a lead investigator on the case was accused of misconduct. A new trial is scheduled for Dec. 5. The defendant was released from custody on Sept. 20 after Judge Eaton announced his ruling.
A jury found 59-year-old Grellet-Tinner guilty of two counts of Sexual Misconduct in the First Degree in late June. He was accused of having a sexual relationship with one of his students.
In late July, the victim told an advocate in the prosecutor’s office that she was having a sexual relationship with the case’s lead detective Stephen Parker. She shortly thereafter recanted, but Prosecuting Attorney Randy Gaylord asked the sheriff’s office to conduct an investigation. Sheriff Ron Krebs assigned the inquiry to Detective Lori Sigman from Skagit County. The report concluded that the allegation was not substantiated because both parties said it never occurred.
In mid-September, Grellet-Tinner’s attorney Robert D. Butler submitted a motion to dismiss the conviction; a motion to change the judgement and a motion for a new trial. The motion for a new trial was granted on two grounds: Parker was aware the victim was at some point reluctant to testify and that was not disclosed to defense council, and Parker had an opinion that the victim “set up” Grellet-Tinner.
The Sigman report has been submitted to the court and was used by the judge in the post conviction motions, but Gaylord said it’s not yet known how it would be used in a new trial.
The prosecutor’s office has filed an appeal with the court of appeals in Seattle. It typically takes six months before it will be reviewed.
“Our objective is to protect the verdict of the jury,” Gaylord said. “We believe that the trial awarded to Grellet-Tinner was fair at every step and the minor points that were raised by defense council do not present grounds for a new trial.”
For more about the Sigman report, see http://www.sanjuanjournal.com/news/393486161.html.