Crime

Shelton man pleads not guilty to breaking into Olympia home, raping resident

A 53-year-old Shelton man accused of raping an Olympia woman in her home pleaded not guilty to second-degree rape and first-degree burglary on Thursday in Thurston County Superior Court.

Gregory A. Schirato, a state Department of Fish and Wildlife employee, appeared before Judge Hirsch, who set bail at $35,000.

The suspect was arrested Wednesday, nearly four months after the alleged rape occurred. Olympia Police detectives were able to link Schirato to the incident using DNA evidence, according to court documents.

Officers responded to the victim’s Olympia home at about 7:30 a.m. Dec. 18 after the woman reported that someone had broken into her home and raped her the night before.

The woman said that she had been at a party until late that night, and was intoxicated when she came home. She went to sleep, and woke up at some point to somebody touching her. She believed it was her boyfriend and went back to sleep.

When she woke up the next morning, her pants were pulled down and her bra was unclasped. The woman called her boyfriend, who said he hadn’t been at her house that night. She noticed that a window on her door was broken and called the police, according to court documents.

The woman said that Schirato was an acquaintance, and he had been at the party on the night of the alleged rape. She said that she and Schirato had previously had a sexual relationship.

A detective received a search warrant allowing him to retrieve the suit Schirato allegedly had been wearing the night of the party and a DNA sample. Shards of clear glass matching the victim’s broken window were found on the suit.

According to court documents, DNA collected from the victim’s bra is 5.4 quadrillion times more likely to have come from Schirato than from any other member of the U.S. population.

At the Thursday court hearing, attorney Richard Woodrow asked that bail be set at $5,000 since his client had been compliant, wasn’t a flight risk and had no criminal history.

But Hirsch disagreed, and accepted Deputy Prosecutor Carol La Verne’s request for $35,000 bail.

“The court is finding that Mr. Schirato is a danger to the community and a danger to the alleged victim in particular,” Hirsch said.

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