By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
SOUTHGATE – Allegations of sexual misconduct by a police officer here were heard Wednesday during an arraignment in 27th District Court.
Emmanuel Paravas, 42, faces a possible 15-year sentence if found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman he was charged with protecting from alleged domestic abuse.
About 1 a.m. on Feb. 9, Paravas and another officer responded to a domestic disturbance call from the La Quinta Hotel on Reek Road. The complainant, a 41-year-old entertainer, was escorted by police to the Holiday Inn on Northline Road for safekeeping.
According to the case presented to Judge Rudy Kalmbach by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Paravas returned to the hotel two hours later and sexually assaulted the woman.
“We did a complete and thorough review of the facts and circumstances to determine the charges,” said Maria Miller, a Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson.
Defense attorney Michael Rataj disagreed, and said after the arraignment that the burden of proof remains with the prosecution.
“A felony complaint is not evidence of anything,” Rataj said. “Anyone can file a complaint. My client is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.”
Rataj called Worthy’s press release “all allegations” that did not offer evidence.
Rataj raised questions, including why it took five days for the complainant to notify police of the alleged assault.
When the report came, Southgate Police turned the matter over to the Michigan State Police to conduct an impartial investigation.
“We found probable cause” to support the allegations, State Police Det. Sgt. Dale Smith said Wednesday before signing the complaint in court. The woman reportedly told investigators she hesitated to make the call, believing that allegations against a cop would not be taken seriously.
After the allegations surfaced, city officials conducted a Garrity hearing on March 8, in which Peravas was questioned about the allegations. Under Garrity protections, answers provided by the accused are not considered testimony or evidence. On March 10, Paravas, a Southgate officer since 2000, resigned from the force.
Paravas faces charges of Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, a felony with a possible sentence of 15 years in prison, Misconduct in Office, a five-year felony, and a misdemeanor charge of Neglect of Duty.
Judge Kalmbach granted Paravas a $100,000 personal bond and ordered he have no contact with the complainant, to include electronic communications.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 30 in 27th District Court.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected].)