Sexual Assault

Santa Clara District Attorney: No Charges Filed for Alleged Sexual Assault at Stanford University (CA Penal Code 243.4)

The Santa Clara District Attorney has decided not to file charges against a Stanford University graduate for alleged sexual assault  (CA Penal Code 243.4). 

Prosecutors with the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office have deemed that there is insufficient evidence to charge the student.  It is the duty of a District Attorney to only charge cases they feel they can win at trial. 

Govinda Dasu was arrested on Sept. 24 after officers were called to his room.

Given the recent changes in law as well as the general atmosphere in San Jose around sexual assaults involving Stanford students, we truly respect the District Attorney’s decision to file charges given emotional and political pressure. 

Meanwhile, the witch hunt against Judge Perski in Palo Alto continues.  This time for another Judge’s decision to allow a student another chance to complete the Domestic Violence counselling Judge Persky ordered him to complete. 

This is the state of the law in Santa Clara.

Fake Massage Therapist Charged in Elder Sex Abuse Case (CA Penal Code 368(c))

While it is normally quite safe to take advantage of the services of a licensed massage therapist, there are those who would pretend to be licensed and trained when they are, in fact, not. This seems to be the case with a 40-year-old man from Vallejo who was masquerading as a massage therapist in San Francisco. Specifically, he has been charged with using his position as a fake massage therapist to sexually abuse several of his elderly clients. He was arrested on suspicion of several different felonies, including assault of an elder, allowing the abuse of an elder, sexual battery, and giving massages without a permit for monetary compensation.

California law takes the abuse of elderly persons quite seriously. The man above was charged with elder abuse to occur (CA Penal Code 368(c)), which amounts to permitting physical or mental pain to be inflicted upon an elder or otherwise dependent adult person. Usually, the circumstances must be such that neither great bodily harm or death will occur, but that the elder will suffer. This particular charge is normally treated as a misdemeanor. However, if great bodily injury or death was possible, the charge would have been under sections 1, 2, and 3 of the same portion of the law and could end in up to 5 years in prison, depending upon the age of the elder in question. If the elder is over the age of 70, then 3 years in state prison is the maximum sentence, along with a $6,000 fine. However, if the elder is over the age of 70, penalties rise to 5 years and a hefty fine.

Man Arrested for Attempted Sexual Assault on Minor (CA Penal Code 243.4)

If you live in the Bay area, you have likely seen the home video surveillance footage of the 31-year-old man who attempted to sexually assault a woman in a local grocery store and a 13-year-old girl in her own home.  He has been arrested on charges of attempted sexual assault, attempted sexual assault during a burglary, false imprisonment, and assault with intent to commit a felony.  His arrest was not the result of a police investigation, but because his landlord saw his image on television and called it in.

Normally, California laws concerning burglary have a specific purpose, to make it illegal to enter another person’s home or residence in order to steal from them (CA Penal Code 249).  However, when sexual assault is the intent, there are different legal elements to take into account.  According to burglary law, a person must intend to commit theft in order to be convicted of a burglary; however, if a sexual assault takes place, this is another matter entirely and the person may be charged with both burglary and sexual assault charges.

It is likely, therefore, that the man who entered the 13-year-old girl’s home and attempted to sexually assault her will be tried for both charges.  He might spend up to 6 years in state prison and have a strike against him (California Three Strikes Law) simply for having entered the home uninvited.  As for the attempted sexual assault (CA Penal Code 243.4), which makes it illegal to touch another person’s intimate parts for the express purpose of sexual gratification or for abuse (a felony charge in his case), then he may expect to spend up to 4 years in state prison and pay a $10,000 fine.


Another Sexual Assault on Livermore’s Arroyo Trail (CA Penal Code 243.4)

Livermore law enforcement officials are in the midst of investigating yet another sexual assault on the Arroyo Trail.  These assaults have become more frequent as of late, this is the third in so many years.  The 5-mile path is a popular hiking and biking spot for many people in the area.  However, attacks such as these give trial-goers pause.  In this last instance, a woman (29) was sexually assaulted as she walked the trail; her attacker, described as a man in his early to mid-30’s and about 6 feet tall with dark hair and an unkempt appearance, grabbed her, assaulted her, and then took off.

California Penal Code 243.4 addressed the crime of sexual assault.  A person could be found guilty of sexually assaulting another individual if it can be proven that they purposefully touched the intimate parts of that person for the express intention of sexually abusing them, sexual arousal, or sexual gratification.  Of course, one of the key elements of the crime is that the alleged victim was not a willing participant in the sexual activity that occurred.

The law provides for 2 types of sexual assault, simple sexual assault (a misdemeanor) and felony sexual assault.  Understanding the difference between them is important.  Misdemeanor sexual assault is considered to have occurred when there are no existing ‘aggravating factors’ (such as the assault taking place in an inherently coercive environment like a nursing home or prison and the victim having been unlawfully restrained).  Misdemeanor penalties include a $2,000 fine and up to 6 months in county jail.

In cases with ‘aggravating factors,’ the crime becomes a ‘wobbler’ and prosecutors must decide whether the facts of the case dictate that they should treat it as a misdemeanor or as a felony.  If treated as a felony, a convicted individual must prepare for a $10,000 fine, up to 1 year in state prison, and required registration as a sex offender.

Doctor Accused of Felony Sexual Exploitation of Patients (Business and Professions Code 729(a))

A California doctor, whose medical license has now been revoked, has just been sentenced to a period of 5 years of probation for having sexually exploited at least 4 of his male patients.  The doctor maintained his position that most of the sexual activity that occurred between him and these 4 patients was consensual, but agreed that his conduct might have been unethical.  With arguments reminiscent of Dan White’s infamous ‘Twinkie Defense,’ this UC Berkeley doc’s attorneys blamed his ingestion of medicine used to treat restless leg syndrome was at fault for his inappropriate behavior.  An Alameda County Superior Court Judge agreed.

Doctors who practice in the state of California are subject to certain professional regulations.  In fact, many hospitals and doctor’s offices where health care professionals work hold employees to strict codes of ethical conduct.  California law, however, dictates that they also abide by the “Business and Professions Code.”  Sections 725-733 of this code address sexual misconduct in the workplace and violation of this code can mean harsh consequences.

Beyond the potential for disciplinary action from within the workplace and the revocation of one’s license, physicians who sexually exploit patients will be subject to felony prosecution.  Under Business and Professions Code 729(a), physicians who participate in this behavior could be subject, if there are multiple violations (meaning 2 or more separate victims) will be subject to up to 3 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  These aforementioned penalties apply only in situations in which the alleged offender has no pre-existing criminal record of sexual exploitation.

Husband Accused of Sexually Assaulting Wife (CA Penal Code 243.4)

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to hear about cases of domestic violence or sexual assault that are perpetrated by one spouse against the other.  However, in the case of one 78-year-old Iowa man, the tale has a different hue.  It seems that he and his wife, also 78, were happily married only 7 years before she recently passed away.  Nonetheless, their loving relationship has been put into question.  The man’s wife had been relegated to a nursing home and, as her dementia increasingly became worse, staff members informed her husband that she was no longer able to mentally consent to having sexual intercourse.  Because he disregarded that warning, he will soon stand trial for sexually assaulting her.

If this man and his wife had been residents of California, the law would have also provided remedies for the woman’s family if sexual assault could be proven.  CA Penal Code 243.4 clearly states that ‘sexual battery’ (or assault) is defined as any touching of the intimate portions of another person’s body, for the express purpose of gratifying oneself sexually, sexually arousing oneself, or for reasons of abuse.  This violation of the law could be considered either a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense.  Most likely, the man would have been charged with a felony sexual assault, considering that felony sexual assault in California specifically addresses patients in inherently coercive environments like nursing homes.  Penalties for felony sexual battery in California include a $10, 000 fine and up to 4 years in state prison.


Sacramento Man Charged with 8 Felony Counts of Sexual Assault (CA Penal Code 243.4)

A 19-year-old man sits in a Sacramento County jail this evening for what police believe to be his part in at least 2 sexual assaults, resulting in 8 different related felony charges.  In one incident, a young woman riding her bike was almost sexually assaulted, but managed to get away, even after having been pulled from her bike.  This first occurrence happened near Peacekeeper Way and Watt Avenue in December of last year.  The second incident involved a 63-year-old woman who was out for a walk (also near Watt Avenue, but this time at A Street) when a young man threatened her, forced her into her own home and then assaulted her sexually.

In California, misdemeanor sexual assault charges differ greatly from their felony counterparts (CA Penal Code 243.4).  Misdemeanor sexual assault, for example, might include such things as touching the intimate parts of a stranger, like a woman’s breast, or patting someone on the bottom without their permission.  However, sexual assault rises to the felony level, it seems, when force or threats are used in order to gratify another person’s sexual desires.  For example, if you use any method of intimidation or fear, from real threats to forcing someone in an inherently coercive environment like a nursing home or a mental institution) to participate in sexual acts, then this behavior would be considered serious enough to be placed under the ‘felony sexual assault’ umbrella.

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor sexual assault or battery, you can expect to spend up to 6 months in county jail (depending on the particular circumstances of your case) and to pay a fine of around $2,000.  However, if you are convicted of a felony sexual assault charge, you could spend up to 4 years in state prison and pay a fine of $10,000.