ER - DA grills alleged victim on stand

Aug 14 2008 - During a tense day of testimony Thursday at David Gundersen’s trial, wife Darcie Seal recanted almost all of her previous statements she made that referred to wrongdoing by her husband.

Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos continually questioned Seal about precise statements she made to investigators and during the preliminary hearing, only to find that she said all those past statements were false.

Seal, who asked The Eureka Reporter to use her real name instead of the “Jane Doe” court designation, requested the court to do the same during the proceedings.

Gundersen is charged with 24 counts of alleged spousal rape with an intoxicant, along with five other charges, including two related to illegal firearms.

The battery of questions by Gallegos directed at Seal focused on specific details about alleged rape by Gundersen she had brought up in the past, but which she now testified were false, at times “sarcastic” and a result of misunderstandings.

Those misunderstandings included conversations with her attorney during the preliminary hearing, Michael Crowley, where he told her she had to stick with her past statements despite her telling him the allegations were false, she testified.

She also testified that she kept being told “over and over” again by investigators that if Gundersen had sex with her while she was asleep and taking Lunesta, that it constituted rape.

“I was under the belief, black-and-white, that if I was under the influence of Lunesta it constituted rape,” she testified.

Seal recanted a long list of allegations she made against Gundersen, including that he raped her and that he was more aroused sexually when she was sleeping.

Intermixed in all this, Gallegos called up previous statements, and when Seal denied them, Gallegos asked if she lied.

Although Seal testified that she lied in many of those instances, she said she had tried to tell investigators, her attorney and Gallegos that she wanted to recant her allegations, but all her pleas were apparently ignored..

At one point, Gallegos asked her to name specific times when she told him or other investigators that the allegations were untrue, to which Seal testified that she talked to him on the phone and also District Attorney’s Office Investigator Wayne Cox.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Detective Troy Garey had testified several days earlier that Seal denied a rape (SART) examination on Feb. 8, because she changed her story to say the sex with Gundersen the previous day had been consensual and not otherwise as earlier stated.

Gallegos asked Seal if she thought investigators would take her allegations as a joke, as she testified that she tried to tell everyone she was being sarcastic.

Seal testified that she didn’t expect the investigators, who were Gundersen’s ex-wife’s friends, to take her statements seriously and arrest him.

“What part of the joke made you cry?” Gallegos pressed her about the taped interview.

“I wanted to leave,” Seal said. “I was confused.”

Seal testified that when she walked into the Feb. 8 interview with investigators, she wasn’t in the “right state of mind” and felt emotional as she had just come back from her psychiatrist.

During the taped interview with investigators, although she made allegations against her husband, she did not want to prosecute him and felt the process was moving too fast.

“You chose to testify falsely against your husband?” Gallegos said.

“Yes,” Seal said.

“In your mind, is it OK to lie?” he said.

“No, it’s not OK,” she said. “Like I said, I was under a great deal of stress and I felt badgered.”

(John C. Osborn can be reached at josborn@eurekareporter.com, or at 707-269-7445.)

☛ ER DA grills alleged victim on stand
By JOHN C. OSBORN , The Eureka Reporter
Published: Aug 14 2008, 10:19 PM · Updated: Aug 14 2008, 10:21 PM
Categories: Local news, Local News