TS - Gundersen custody battle goes back 10 years

☛ TS Gundersen custody battle goes back 10 years 2/14/08

Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen faced allegations of raping his ex-wife as part of a heated custody dispute nearly 10 years ago, court records show.

Gundersen's ex-wife claimed in 1999 court records that her then husband put drugs in her food or drink so she couldn't resist his unwanted sexual demands.

Gundersen now faces 12 counts of raping his current wife while she was drugged or intoxicated. He pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges filed on Wednesday.

Gundersen's attorney Russell Clanton said Tuesday he believed the chief's Friday arrest in McKinleyville had its origins in the family court case.

Gundersen denied the claims of his ex-wife to Humboldt County Court Investigator John Buffington, according to a court report on Nov. 3, 1999. It was part of an ongoing custody dispute over the Gundersens' two children.

”As to the drugging of Mrs. Gundersen, it is difficult to know who is lying to me,” Buffington wrote. “But it is clear that one of the two is lying to me.”

Gundersen's ex-wife, who works for the Humboldt County Sheriffs Office as a legal office assistant, is represented by Arcata attorney Joan Gallegos, the wife of Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos. Attorney Christopher Metzger represents Gundersen in that matter.

Paul Gallegos said Wednesday he does not think his wife's position as Gundersen's ex-wife's attorney will have any bearing on his decision whether to personally handle Gundersen's prosecution.

Gundersen and his ex-wife were married in 1990 and separated in 1998.

While the court file documents a number of disagreements between the couple over years, and some that involved Gundersen's current wife, the drugging and rape allegation is not mentioned again in any of the unsealed documents in the file. His current wife is on leave from her position as a sergeant with the Blue Lake Police Department.

The family law case is still pending.

The Times-Standard
Article Launched: 02/14/2008 01:27:14 AM PST