Jury finds Milwaukee officer not guilty

By DERRICK NUNNALLY
dnunnally@journalsentinel.com

Posted: Jan. 17, 2008

In a case based on a prostitute's 2004 accusation, a fired Milwaukee police officer won acquittal Thursday on charges he coerced a woman into a sex act in exchange for setting her free, despite finding she was wanted on two warrants and had a crack pipe.

Milford Adams, 39, said he wants to return to work as a police officer after a jury found him not guilty on a felony charge of misconduct in office and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct. Its 4 1/2 hours of deliberations turned largely on the credibility of Adams' accuser, said jury forewoman Maria Jackson of Oak Creek.

“The story had changed too many times in all of her statements,” Jackson said of the accuser, Melissa Gronewold.

Gronewold wept on the witness stand Tuesday while recounting the situation. She said Adams stopped her on the street, searched her and found a crack pipe, and discovered that she was wanted on two warrants before he ordered her to sit in his police car with him in an alley. There, she testified, he encouraged her to perform a sex act, which she did.

Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Douglas J. Simpson said in his closing argument Thursday that the events amounted to forcing Gronewold to perform the act to stay out of jail.

But her testimony varied with earlier statements about the incident. Defense attorney Michael F. Hart told jurors the discrepancies signaled Gronewold fabricated the event to catch a break on a subsequent prostitution prosecution.