Galella and Raddatz charged with threats, intimidation of witness
BY TINA L. SCOTT
Two Merrill residents, 22-year-old Vincent Anthony Galella and his 51-year-old aunt, Tia R. Raddatz, were each charged last week with two felony counts of threatening to accuse someone of a crime and intimidation of a witness, and a misdemeanor count of defamation, all as a party to a crime. They were each additionally charged with a misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer, and Galella was also charged with two counts of bail jumping. They have both been summoned to appear in court on July 28, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. to face the charges.
If convicted of all these charges, Raddatz faces up to $55,000 in fines and up to 12 years in prison or both, while Galella faces up to $75,000 in fines and up to 24 years in prison or both.
The new charges relate back to Galella’s May 9, 2023, arrest on charges of attempted first degree sexual assault and possession of a firearm while intoxicated.
According to the Criminal Complaint citing probable cause for the charges filed last week with the Lincoln County Court against Raddatz and Galella, Raddatz contacted the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) on July 11, 2023, “to report a historical sexual assault” she alleges happened the evening of March 10, 2023, around 10:00 p.m. at Galella’s birthday party. Raddatz told deputies a woman, who happens to be the victim Galella is charged with assaulting at gunpoint in May, was at the party, intoxicated, and kept knocking into her and slapped and grabbed her butt. She said she ignored the behavior and that it wasn’t a big deal at the time “until she figured out who the individual was.”
At that time, she alleges she told Galella about the incident, he told his attorney, and Galella said his attorney “urged” Raddatz to report the incident because the lawyer allegedly said it would “help as far as her character and credibility.”
When the deputy advised Raddatz that it appears she was wanting to report this alleged incident in order to discredit the victim in Galella’s case and asked her if she would be reporting the alleged incident if it had occurred where some other random female did this, Raddatz replied “probably not” three times. Yet, when she was asked what her wishes would be, if deputies could establish probable cause for her claim, “she indicated that she would like the victim arrested.”
An investigator phoned Raddatz on July 12 with follow-up questions and learned Raddatz “did not know who the victim was at the time of the incident,” but after her nephew was accused of crimes, she “viewed a photograph” of the victim in that case and then identified her as the person who had assaulted her in March. She decided to come forward to report it because Galella told her to, allegedly at the urging of his attorney.
The investigator then made contact with the victim in the original case that resulted in the initial charges against Galella and also met with her in person. During those contacts the victim said that “during the 4th of July weekend, she had overheard Vincent’s aunt was asking around to people if they had talked with [her] about the incident … and what [she] had said.” She identified Raddatz as the person who was asking around about her and said she didn’t know her or why she was doing that. The investigator noted he had not previously informed her of the name of the complainant in this current investigation.
The victim was asked about the incident Raddatz alleged, and she denied it had occurred and denied even being at the bar on the date Raddatz alleged she had been assaulted. Further, the investigator said the “victim went through her phone and provided evidence that suggested she was most likely not at the bar on March 10.”
The charges against Galella are in relation to Raddatz’s report which was deemed an attempt to “knowingly and maliciously … dissuade a witness …” by virtue of the language in the charges, because she said Galella told her to report it to discredit the victim and her character. He is further charged with two counts of felony bail jumping because conditions of the cash bond he signed related to his intial felony charges includes the standard conditions that “Defendant shall not commit any crime” and “Defendant shall neither directly nor indirectly threaten, harass, intimidate or otherwise interfere with victim or witnesses in this action.”