Accuser’s criminal past an issue in rape case against cop - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Accuser’s criminal past an issue in rape case against cop

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Daniel Dana, pictured right, resigned from his job as a San Diego police officer when he was arrested May 11 and charged with rape and oral copulation under color of authority, assault, and false imprisonment. Daniel Dana, pictured right, resigned from his job as a San Diego police officer when he was arrested May 11 and charged with rape and oral copulation under color of authority, assault, and false imprisonment.
News 8 has learned the officer's accuser has a long criminal history, which could be a problem for the prosecution. News 8 has learned the officer's accuser has a long criminal history, which could be a problem for the prosecution.
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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) -- There is new information in the case of a San Diego police officer charged with raping a prostitute in his patrol car at Presidio Park.

News 8 has learned the officer's accuser has a long criminal history, which could be a problem for the prosecution.

Daniel Dana, 26, resigned from his job as a San Diego police officer when he was arrested May 11 and charged with rape and oral copulation under color of authority, assault, and false imprisonment.

The ex-cop is accused of assaulting a 35-year-old prostitute who News 8 is not identifying because she is an alleged victim of sexual assault.

News 8 found several pages of escort advertisements and graphic, adult photos posted online last year, which solicited men to call the female prostitute on her cell phone.

The defense attorney representing Dana admits the officer may have been friends with the woman, but claims there was no rape.

"No force was used. There wasn't even explicit threats used," Dana's attorney William Wolfe said during a bail review hearing last month.

Legal experts say the criminal allegations may be difficult to prove, given the woman's criminal background.

"I think we're going to find out that the person who made these allegations has her own checkered past that is going to come out; and it calls into credibility of these allegations made by one person," Wolfe said.

Court records show the accuser has criminal convictions for theft, forgery, prostitution, and a felony assault with a deadly weapon.

The felony assault happened last year outside a Denny's restaurant in the 2400 block of El Cajon Blvd, where the prostitute beat a customer with a ceramic coffee cup, causing thousands of dollars in injuries to the victim, according to court records.

As a result, the prostitute remains on probation and under court order to stay at least 100 yards away from the Denny's restaurant, records show.

But News 8 has learned, the prostitute was at the very same Denny's restaurant on the night of her alleged sexual encounter with Officer Dana.

Sources familiar with the case told News 8 that surveillance video at the restaurant shows the woman inside using her cell phone, prior to meeting up with Officer Dana.

The two then drove to Presidio Park, where the prostitute claims the officer threatened to arrest her unless she had sex with him.

After that, the woman allegedly asked the officer to drop her off at the Denny's restaurant, which would be a violation of the court order.

"I have to tell you – based on her long rap sheet and him being squeaky clean – it's not the worst case for the defense, I'll put it that way," said defense attorney Kerry Armstrong, who is not involved with the case.

Armstrong said the woman's criminal history likely will be presented to the jury if the case goes to trial. Still, he said, that doesn't necessarily mean she's lying about the rape.

"Even though she may have a history of crime, including prostitution, don't necessarily disbelieve her because of that," Armstrong said. "Prostitutes can be raped. It's just that plain and simple. Prostitutes can be raped."

Former officer Dana is free on $300,000 bail and through his attorney declined to comment.

The woman also declined to be interviewed for this report. She is scheduled to testify in open court next week during Dana's preliminary hearing.

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