The latest of 4 documented incidents in Fairfield involving female joggers happened this last Wednesday. An unnamed 17-year-old victim was running close to Westamerica Drive and Sandstone Way in around 8:30 p.m. when the suspect approached her, pretending to ask for directions. Things quickly progressed as the man assaulted the young woman, who was eventually able to escape, scratching her assailant on his hands and face. The unidentified suspect is said to be a thin, 5’7” tall Caucasian man with blonde hair in his late 20s. Local law enforcement agents are still working to bring this man in for questioning; a composite sketch has been released to the public. Meanwhile, women joggers are warned to be extremely cautious when jogging in the Fairfield area.
If this person is found, they will be subject to California sexual battery and assault laws (CA Penal Code 243.4). While this particular crime is a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that it may be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the circumstances, the Fairfield attacker would be subject to felony sexual battery if convicted. Sexual battery or assault becomes a California felony in several different sets of circumstances. First, they could have been falsely persuaded that they were touched ‘professionally,’ like in a session with a massage therapist or while the victim was living in an inherently coercive environment, such as a mental institution or nursing home.
However, felony violations of this law can also occur when the victim has been restrained unlawfully, as in being held down or otherwise kept from escaping while the perpetrator touches intimate parts of their body. Whereas a misdemeanor conviction for sexual battery may result in up to 1 year in county jail and a $2,000 fine, felony convictions on this same basis may result in up to 4 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.