‘Jekyll and Hyde’ image of a Seattle attorney, accused rapist
Is Danford Grant a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-type character” as prosecutors describe him?
While prosecutors claim Grant is a violent rapist, his family only knows him as a loving, devoted husband and father.
Grant, a 47-year-old successful Seattle attorney, is now charged with seven felony counts. Police say Grant attacked massage therapists at locations in Seattle and Bellevue, and at a home in Shoreline.
In an effort to reduce Grant’s bail, which Superior Court Judge Mary Yu granted late last week, 15 letters of support were submitted.
The letters from family, friends, neighbors and co-workers describe Grant as a non-violent man, outstanding father and role model in the community.
Here are some passages from the letters I’ve obtained:
Grant’s sister Deborah Watson writes, “Since Dan was a very young boy, he has wanted a family. That has always been the most important, vital part of what he wanted in life. He loves his wife and three children deeply…I believe it’s the love of his family and their love for him that are sustaining him through this terrible ordeal.”
Several letters mention the Grant family’s financial situation as being bleak, in an effort to get the bail reduced, including his sister’s letter.
She also says, “Dan is absolutely not a danger to anyone he comes in contact with. I have never seen nor know of him even contemplating any sort of violence towards anyone. He has never been in a physical fight with anyone.” And she concludes he is “the opposite of being a danger to the community. He contributes to the community in many ways.”
Grant’s uncle, Harold Miller writes, “The person that I know is one of the kindest people.”
An aunt and uncle of Grant’s wife state, “The current charges are completely out of character for Dan.”
A neighbor and member of the Washington State Bar Association, Tanya Johnson, says the accused rapist has never been “violent, irrational or inappropriate.”
Other words used to describe Grant in the letters include: Kind, funny, patient, and never aggressive or upset.
Melissa Kelly, mother of Grant’s oldest child, says “this situation” has had an extremely negative impact on their son who is described as “very angry,” “sad” and “struggling with sleeping and eating.”
Grant’s older brother, Randall Watson, calls the charges “incomprehensible and unbelievable.”
“My brother is not, nor has ever been, a violent person,” Watson writes. “I am also very concerned about my nephews and my niece. It is hard for anyone to imagine what they are going through, how their lives have been suddenly shattered.” They need their father to help deal with “these terrible, terrifying events.”
A partner in Grant’s law firm describes him as “the kind of lawyer that we might all aspire to be.”
“I’ve observed Dan to be funny, self-deprecating, charming and friendly,” writes David Onsager. “I’ve never seen him treat another person cruelly or behave violently. I have never heard him speak of being violent towards any women (sexually or otherwise) or condone such behaviors in others. I have never heard him fantasize about leaving his wife and kids to start a life elsewhere.”
The attorney’s office has filed papers with the state to change the law firm’s name to Bailey Onsager, eliminating Grant.
While Grant’s supporter read the letters one way, prosecutors read between the lines.
“It was hard to read those letters from members of the community and his family,” says Val Richey, King County’s senior deputy prosecuting attorney. “They speak so highly of this person they believe they know, and yet had absolutely no idea of the double life he has been leading.”
Richey says the letters are a “troubling reminder of the deception” Grant was able to “engineer in order to gratify himself sexually.”
Grant is still in the King County jail. According to their records, bail has not been posted.
A hearing has been set for Tuesday morning to finalize the conditions of his release.
By LINDA THOMAS