Emmett Twp. officer headed to trial for new rape charges

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- A suspended Emmett Township police officer already charged with sexually assaulting a teen relative will now go to trial for new rape charges involving a second relative.

Police say in July, Troy Estree lured his 33-year-old niece into a hot tub at a Kalamazoo hot tub lounge where he gave her alcohol and forced her to have sex with him.

A judge on Wednesday determined there was enough evidence to send him to trial on three new charges, including first degree criminal sexual conduct. Estree is also charged with two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct.

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday afternoon in Kalamazoo County the alleged victim, Estree's niece, testified that while the two were in the hot tub they began to talk about pornography and sex. The victim told the judge that Estree proceeded to get naked during the conversation. He then asked his niece to show him her breasts, she alleged.

She obliged.

“You didn’t think there was anything odd about sitting in a hot tub with you uncle who naked,” Joshua Blanchard, Estree's attorney, asked during cross examination of the victim.

She replied no, and said she considered their sexually explicit conversation 'normal' adding that she 'had nothing to hide' from her uncle and that she's seen and heard worse before given her background as a medical professional.

At that point Estree began to move toward her and grab her around her neck before raping her, the victim testified.

“He pulled me toward him," she said. "I just sat there and took it, he put his hand around my throat and squeezed…"

Estree's niece said in court she didn't do or say anything because she didn't know what to do.

Blanchard, during cross examination, also called the victim's credibility into question, saying she's falsely accused others of rape before and has posted on her Facebook about being 'mentally unstable.'

The judge was then presented with evidence from Blanchard of a GoFundMe account that Estree's niece later admitted to setting up as a 'victim's rape fund.'

When asked by Blanchard if she had ever tried making money as a result of the allegations she leveled against her uncle, Estree's niece replied 'no.'

Blanchard then called the victim's mother and brothers to the stand to answer one question each about her 'character of truthfulness.'

Each replied she was untruthful and couldn't be trusted.

Estree is also facing multiple charges of criminal sexual conduct in Calhoun County in a case he was arraigned on in August 2014. In that case he is also accused of sexually assaulting a relative, a 15-year-old, but his attorney argued he was being blackmailed.

A 10 year veteran of the Emmett Township Public Safety Department, Estree remains on unpaid leave. He is married to a Battle Creek police detective, according to his attorney.  He had been free on bond while a trial date for the 2014 case was pending.

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