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Former Woodside Teacher Convicted of Child Molestation (CA Penal Code 288)

The public first heard about the case of a former Woodside Elementary teacher in 2013 when the now 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of child molestation and tried for his crimes.  However, the jury was unable to reach a decision concerning some of the allegations, while convicting him on other counts.   His attorneys rightly decided that the best course of action was to re-try the case.  Now, he faces 25 years to life after having been convicted of child molestation on 19 counts, a second time, though a similar body acquitted him not long ago.  He maintains his innocence, claiming that his actions were the behavior of a concerned teacher.  In the main, he calmed boys with behavior disorders or attention deficit hyperactivity disorders by patting their chests in a calming manner.

In the interest of providing accurate information,  it should be stressed that this particular individual did not touch the children in question on any of their intimate areas.  However, according to California law, this simple fact does not matter.  Why doesn’t it matter?  Because CA Penal Code 288 states that an individual need only touch a minor child anywhere on their body with the intent of becoming sexually aroused.  This is an important distinction to make, it is not the actual touching that may be considered illegal (like a simple pat on the back or shoulder), but the intent of the person who is doing the touching.  In cases such as these, it should be no surprise that juries found it difficult to determine whether or not the alleged assailant intended to arouse himself sexually.  How, in fact, can this be proven in most cases?  The fact remains, however, that, if convicted of a violation of this law, you could spend up to 8 years in state prison and find yourself with 1 strike according to the California Three Strikes Law.  Additionally, you would certainly be placed, for life, on a sex offender registry, which is an onerous burden in and of itself.

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