By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
SOUTHGATE — Within the course of a 90-minute interview last year, Southgate Police officer Emmanuel Paravas revised his account of an encounter with a woman who accused him of sexual assault.
At the beginning of a recorded conversation in February 2011, Paravas told Michigan State Police investigators he absolutely, “did not have sex” with the plaintiff, a woman he encountered at the La Quinta Inn, 12888 Reeck Road, while answering a domestic disturbance call in February 2011.
“Nothing sexual happened between her and I,” Paravas insisted.
The conversation continued, however, and by the end of the interview Paravas admitted that a sexual encounter took place.
“She was grateful and wanted to show me,” Paravas said. “She wasn’t forced to do anything.”
A jury in the courtroom of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Annette Berry listened to most of the estimated 90-minute interview, along with other witnesses.
Various accounts were told of what began late in the evening on Feb. 8, 2011, when the woman and her husband arrived in Southgate. She was scheduled to appear at a club as a touring adult entertainer the following night.
That afternoon, the woman left the hotel twice to purchase alcohol, and by late evening was engaged in a heated hotel lobby argument with her husband.
Hotel staff contacted the police, and Paravas was the lead investigator to respond. After interceding between the married couple, it was decided to take the woman to another hotel, a nearby Holiday Inn, and Paravas escorted her and made sure she was checked into a room.
Paravas returned to the room twice, he said, once to confirm information for his report, and again after speaking with the woman’s husband.
The woman testified that she recalled little of the night after a certain point, having consumed several small bottles of wine and an apple martini at a bar prior to the argument in the lobby. What she remembered next was when Paravas entered the room a third time, removed something from his belt, handcuffed the woman and raped her.
“Wise up or you’re going to jail,” the woman claimed Paravas told her.
The details of the evening before and morning after were many, and evidence confirmed a long night in a troubled marriage. The woman and her husband admitted that she drank heavily, often to alcoholic blackout, and that they argued throughout the afternoon and evening. Paravas, Southgate Police officers and hotel staff described a heated confrontation in a hotel lobby and the decision to take the woman to another location for the night.
At issue, however, is whether or not a crime was committed. The woman and her husband contacted Michigan State Police investigators five days after the night in question, and detectives soon interviewed Paravas at Southgate. Shortly after the taped interview that was played in court last week, Paravas resigned in March 2011 from the Southgate Police Department after a Garrity hearing was held.
In May Paravas was arraigned in 27th District Court, and in time was bound over for a jury trial in circuit court. Paravas is accused of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, misconduct in office and neglect of duty.
Paravas was reportedly expected to take the stand Friday before the jury would begin deliberations. Paravas faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of sexual assault.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected])