A Platte County judge has sentenced a repeat offender he found guilty of an alcohol-facilitated sexual assault to just 10 years in prison, despite the man’s violent criminal history.
Shortly after, the Platte County Prosecutor’s office issued a press release critical of the judge’s ruling.
In July, Judge Dennis Eckold found Gregorio Davis, 25, of Platte County, guilty of first degree sodomy and fourth degree domestic assault, but on Aug. 24, he handed down a sentence below Missouri’s average, according to the release.
Davis has a conviction from Florida for violently resisting arrest. He had been on probation for just two months for that offense before he committed the sexual assault in Platte County.
In the release, prosecuting attorney Eric Zahnd said 99 percent of the inmates in Missouri prisons are either violent felons, sex offenders, repeat offenders, or had a chance at probation or parole and failed.
“This defendant falls into each of those categories,” Zahnd said. “Criminals like him are the reason we build prisons. Despite all the evidence that the defendant is a dangerous criminal, I regret that we were not able to convince the judge that he needs to be placed where he cannot hurt people for a long, long time.”
Prosecutors asked for a 36-year prison term, noting that Davis never took responsibility for his crime — even having falsely denied the crime while on the witness stand during trial. First degree sodomy is punishable by a minimum of five years in prison. There is no maximum sentence under Missouri law.
The average sentence for first degree sodomy and similar offenses in Missouri is 16.3 years in prison. Prior to sentencing, a risk evaluation tool administered by Missouri Probation and Parole indicated Davis had an above-average risk of offending again.
A victim advocate for the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project attended the trial and sentencing. Melissa Winter, advocacy services manager for the organization, said, “It is important to take a stand against the severity and lasting impact of sexual assault and also acknowledge the prevalence of alcohol- and drug-facilitated sexual assault. The court’s sentencing was woefully inadequate in this case. We also need to be sending a clear message that, as a society, we will not tolerate male-on-male sexual assault and to validate and support male survivors of sexual assault.”
Davis sexually assaulted a man on July 29, 2017 while that man was unconscious or nearly unconscious. Davis admitted the man had been drinking heavily at a 39th Street bar in Kansas City. Davis testified that the man was obviously intoxicated when he left the bar. Davis placed the man in a vehicle and drove him to Davis’ house while the man was unconscious.
In an interview with investigators, Davis initially denied any sexual contact with the victim, stating, “He was of no use. He was unconscious.” Davis also said the victim was “too wasted” to engage in sex. Davis later admitted, however, that he had sexual contact with the victim while he was unconscious or barely conscious.
After the sexual assault, Davis physically assaulted another man by striking him repeatedly and causing him to bleed from the head.
“The defendant chose to have the judge decide punishment in this case rather than a jury — presumably because he believed a Platte County jury would recommend he be sent to prison for decades if given the chance,” Zahnd said. “Some rapists use a gun. Some use drugs or alcohol. We will continue to try to educate everyone that alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults are serious crimes and must result in stern punishment.”