Second woman comes forward against ex-cop facing trial for sexual assault
A woman who would potentially be a new witness in the sex-assault trial of a former Grand Junction police officer would testify about alleged sexual advances by the officer while he was on duty, and when she was underage in 2003 and 2004, according to court records.
Eric Janusz, 42, is scheduled for a jury trial in March after pleading not guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault on a child and sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.
Janusz’s alleged victim, now 28, testified in an August preliminary hearing to numerous sexual encounters with Janusz in 2000 when she was 16. Janusz was in uniform and on the job during the encounters, working at the police department’s substation at then-Mesa State College.
The woman testified she met Janusz while he was investigating a runaway case involving her brother. She testified Janusz threatened during the investigation that he had the power to put her “back into foster care” if she didn’t help him in the case.
In a motion filed Oct. 26, Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Hand sought the approval of District Judge Thomas Deister to allow the testimony of another woman who came forward with new claims about Janusz.
The woman would testify she met Janusz when he responded to a disturbance call, and when she was under 18, the motion reads. Janusz’s alleged comments to her made her increasingly uncomfortable, while those conversations became “much worse” over time, the motion said.
“The Defendant would say things to her like, “sex is really boring with my wife, guess when you get married things get boring. Why can’t you get emancipated?” the motion said.
The woman described Janusz as flirtatious and pushy, while saying she didn’t report it when it happened, “because she didn’t know if anyone would believe her.”
“Looking back, (woman) felt the defendant was trying to do something sexual with her,” the motion states.
She said they never had sex.
Prosecutors argue the jury in Janusz’s trial should hear her testimony because it shows a pattern similar to the facts in Janusz’s sexual assault case.
“The People allege that the Defendant used his position of authority as a peace officer to gain access to (alleged victim),” the motion states. “The Defendant’s grooming of the victim(s) by complementing their respective looks and physical appearance is relevant to the crimes charged.”
Hand’s motion suggests the defense intends to argue at trial that the alleged victim is lying.
“... This evidence refutes defenses, such as recent fabrication, demonstrates intent and grooming of a victim,” Hand wrote in the motion.
The woman’s name was removed from the documents provided to The Daily Sentinel at the Mesa County Justice Center.
Deister hasn’t yet ruled on whether the testimony will be allowed.
Janusz left the Grand Junction Police Department in 2006 and went to work for the Grand Junction Fire Department, where he remained until February before leaving in a dispute over workers’ compensation.