Man acquitted of sexual assault sues SLO County

August 4, 2015

jail33A South County man spent almost two years in county jail, where he lost two teeth, after sheriff’s detectives and prosecutors falsely accused him of sexually assaulting two teenagers, according to a lawsuit filed last week in San Luis Obispo Superior Court. [Tribune]

In May 2012, two women — then 16 and 18 years old — reported waking up to an unknown man in their bed. Michael Aaron McGrew, 34, faced eight felony charges, including assault with intent to rape, and could have served a life sentence, if convicted, according to the suit an attorney filed on his behalf.

But, following a three-week trial in March 2014, a San Luis Obispo jury acquitted McGrew. The jury reached the verdict after less than two hours of deliberation, the lawsuit states.

McGrew’s lawsuit alleges sheriff’s investigators submitted reports to the county district attorney’s office that did not reflect what occurred during interviews with the alleged victims. The first 34 minutes of the initial interview were recorded.

During the initial interview, the alleged victims said McGrew was in bed between them, and he held them both down with choke holds or head locks. The alleged victims also said they had been asleep and did not know whether McGrew touched them sexually.

Later, the teenagers said McGrew did touch them sexually before they fended him off. The reports forwarded to district attorney’s office did not explain the girls changed their stories, the lawsuit states.

The suit also states the alleged victims showed little to no emotion in the interview and could even be heard laughing at several points. Additionally, deputies mentioned finding small bags of methamphetamine in the girls’ bedroom during the recorded interview, but the reports forwarded to the DA’s office made no mention of drugs.

Following the interview, the alleged victims went to the hospital for a sexual assault test. But, both left the hospital, against medical advice, prior to the arrival of the sexual assault response team, according to the suit.

The lawsuit also alleges sheriff’s deputies interviewed the teens together, rather than separately, which would have enabled investigators to vet their credibility.

The suit names San Luis Obispo County, the county sheriff’s office, Sheriff Ian Parkinson and four deputies and detectives. It alleges false arrest and imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and malicious prosecution.

While awaiting trial, McGrew was assaulted five times in county jail, according to the lawsuit. McGrew lost two teeth as a result of the assaults.

Nina Negranti, chief deputy county counsel, said the lawsuit has no merit.

McGrew has been arrested numerous times over the past 16 years. He is currently in county jail and facing charges of spousal abuse, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and dissuading a witness from testifying.



  1. cfk420 says:

    This lowlife scumbag sexually assaulted my good friend’s sister in almost exactly the same way! The only difference was that he knew the victim. He is definitely guilty and who knows how many others are out there. I hope and pray this guy doesn’t win this suit and that he does get put away for life! He doesn’t contribute anything good to society and he is such a low life, that even his peers(fellow inmates) found it fit to physically assault him 5 separate times while he was incarcerated. That has to tell you something about the guys character. If you or anyone you know has had similar assaults take place, be it from this man or any other, PLEASE REPORT IT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT IMMEDIATELY!!! You hold the power to prevent other women/children from being sexually assaulted(or worse!) DO NOT STAY SILENT-No matter how long it has been, there is no statute of limitations on rape so they can be prosecuted and held accountable for their actions even if it happened years ago! If they get away with it, they will do it again!!!

    (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
  2. slowtime says:

    This is an old case. It looks like he dismissed his Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit against the County recently. It seems the Attorney could not follow court procedures. Now he hopes to collect in State Court instead. Good luck with that. Just because he was aquitted doesn’t mean much in a Civil trial. Why aren’t the girls listed as defendants? Perhaps the attorney is just chasing $$$. Look here:

    (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
  3. unlisted says:

    McGrew even can’t stay out of jail for four months. He seems like a real winner.

    (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
    • unlisted says:

      Sorry, it was 16 months. Perhaps he should get a medal for his restraint.

      (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
    • markslo70 says:

      does that mean we shouldn’t hold law enforcement to the highest standard? Aside from being morally wrong, kangaroo court tactics significantly diminish leo/da credibility, making it that much harder for them to successfully try legitimate cases. Why should I or any juror trust a vetted lair/manipulator of the truth?

      (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
      • unlisted says:

        There is definitely something wrong with the DA when a 34 year old is in bed with a 16 year old and they can’t convict him of anything.

        (9) 9 Total Votes - 9 up - 0 down
  4. Stunned says:

    Well the fact that there were traces of meth in the room doesn’t necessarily point to the girls does it? How about the freak who jumped in their bed and although didn’t assault them certainly didn’t have good intentions in his brain?

    (-4) 10 Total Votes - 3 up - 7 down
    • Stunned says:

      **didn’t SEXUALLY assault them**

      (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
    • markslo70 says:

      Was he actually in bed with them? That’s what the da/investigators say, but their credibility is kind of shot now, isn’t it?

      (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
  5. abigchocoholic says:

    When you’re a criminal low life, there’s always 2 factual commonalities:

    1. You were there. You can argue about what you did when you were there but the fact is you were there at the crime scene during the crime when you had no business being there.

    2. You have a long history of criminal acts. That’s why you’re a low life.

    When you put those 2 things together, people don’t much care about you. Sure, every now and then you may get convicted of things you didn’t actually do and more often you don’t get convicted for things you did do–but bottom line, you pretty much were looking for trouble and you found it.

    (-3) 25 Total Votes - 11 up - 14 down
    • missmuffet says:

      @ abigchocoholic

      What is factual is you have nothing to negate the basis for which the jury came back with a decision of innocent … in less than two hours.

      You want to hang your hat on fact that the guy has a criminal history thus he must be guilty. Sorry pal, that is not how the system works and because you are in law enforcement you should know better.

      Bottom line is that this was a crappy investigation and the Sheriff’s Department slanted and withheld critical facts. Had the DA Ofiice known those facts early on, I doubt they would have even filed the case.

      (18) 26 Total Votes - 22 up - 4 down
      • missmuffet says:

        PS: When some one has backwoods thinking there are 2 factual commonalities …..

        (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
      • abigchocoholic says:

        I don’t disagree with anything factual you said and I never said the guy was guilty in this case. Obviously, he wasn’t. I was merely commenting on my experiences in life. Objective observation. Repeat offenders fit a well known pattern. It is what it is.

        “McGrew has been arrested numerous times over the past 16 years. He is currently in county jail and facing charges of spousal abuse, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and dissuading a witness from testifying.”

        (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
      • Scott says:

        Problem the DA’s office did know and still went ahead, there has been abundance of cases in the past 8 months where the Jury’s have acquitted people who were wrongfully charged. This is the same office where the AG had to come in and arrest AJ Santana a DA investigator who was one of many lying dirty corrupt law enforcement more at Sheriffs Dept. who is facing many lawsuits.

        (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
      • Theo P. Neustic says:

        Being found, “not guilty” is not the same as “innocent”.

        (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
        • tictac1 says:

          In a court it is. Defendants may plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest (which is practically the same as guilty). You cannot plead innocent, and no jury has ever declared a defendant innocent. Google “innocent definition” and you’ll find the #1 definition is: not guilty.

          If your meaning of innocent is “above reproach, blameless”, those are good too, but apply to almost no one…:)

          The problem with our DA office is they try to get convictions rather than figure out whether a crime was committed and who committed it. The DA lies to get people into jail, the defense attorneys lie to keep them out. Nice system, eh?

          (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down

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