A former top official at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has been convicted of breaking into the home of a colleague and raping her. The verdict Wednesday follows a lengthy trial in a case that revealed a sexualized workplace culture at WDFW.
Former Fish and Wildlife Deputy Director Greg Schirato was convicted of second degree rape and first-degree burglary.
The crimes happened in December 2014 after a Fish and Wildlife holiday party in Olympia. The next morning, the victim called police and reported that she had found signs of a break-in at her house and had intermittent memories of being sexually assaulted while she slept.
An investigation led detectives to Schirato who was later charged. He and the victim subsequently filed dueling workplace sexual harassment claims against each other. An investigator hired by Fish and Wildlife found that Schirato often talked about sexual topics at work and tried to recruit co-workers to engage in sex.
Schirato is no longer with the agency and it has since embarked on an effort to improve its workplace culture.
“I couldn’t be happier with the verdict, justice was served,” the victim in the case said shortly after the verdict was read. The Northwest News Network is not naming her because she is a victim of sexual assault.
In a statement, Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim credited investigators with the Olympia Police Department.
“And we appreciate the hard work of the jury in listening to and analyzing all of the evidence and reaching a just verdict,” Tunheim said.
Schirato will be sentenced in March. His attorney, Richard Woodrow, said he plans to appeal the conviction.
“We’re disappointed, we were very hopeful it would be not guilty,” Woodrow said.