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Seattle lawyer pleads guilty to raping massage therapists

By Jonathan Kaminsky

OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - A prominent Seattle attorney pleaded guilty on Wednesday to raping five immigrant women who worked at Asian massage parlors in the Seattle area in a deal expected to result in a 25-year prison sentence, prosecutors said.

By pleading guilty, Danforth Grant, a married father of three, avoided a trial set to start on Wednesday in which prosecutors were expected to present evidence that he targeted the women for their relative powerlessness.

Grant faced a possible life prison term if convicted at trial.

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said the plea agreement stemmed from the courage of the victims, whom he said Grant preyed upon with the expectation they would be too intimidated and shamed to come forward.

"They, and the rest of the community know that our justice system has worked to put an end to the reign of violent intimidation and rape by a man of power and privilege over women who had neither," Satterberg said in a statement.

Grant's arrest in 2012 sent shock waves through the Seattle legal community. Grant was a partner at a local firm and his wife a supervising assistant city attorney at the Seattle City Attorney's Office when he was taken into custody.

Grant, 49, pleaded guilty to five counts of third-degree rape and one count of first-degree burglary.

In addition to prison time, he faces 18 months of supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender. He is due to be sentenced on May 19, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Grant's attorney, Richard Hansen, said his client suffers from sex addiction and depression and was remorseful for the acts, which he said were not consensual but also not violent.

Hansen said he expected Grant to get out of prison after 15 years, accounting for time already served under house arrest and credit for good behavior.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Dan Grebler)

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