Recently, in a San Mateo hair and nail salon, a man posing as a massage therapist allegedly convinced an unsuspecting customer to allow him to give her a massage. The 43-year-old woman claims that she was sexually assaulted in a private room, all the while she was under the impression that she was dealing with a professional. As it turns out, the man giving her a massage was a 53-year-old San Jose registered sex offender. The owner of the salon where the man worked as a nail technician and hair stylist identified him to police officers and he was arrested on charges of sexual battery and attempted oral copulation.
According to the testimony of the alleged victim, part of what the man attempted to do was to force her to remove her underclothes. Although the crime of sexual battery is well known, California Penal Code 288(a) (“Oral Copulation by Force or Fear”) is a lesser-known violation of the law. According to this section of the legal code, any person who touches another individual’s sexual organs with their mouth without the permission of that person, and uses force or fear to accomplish this goal, is guilty of oral copulation by force or fear. This includes persons who are extremely intoxicated or are otherwise unable to consent and those who outright refuse.
A violation of CA PC 288(a) is always considered a felony in the state of California. Penalties include up to 8 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. Additionally, any individual convicted of such crime will be required to register as a sex offender for life. However, the man in question will not be subject to these exact consequences as he committed ‘attempted’ oral copulation. He was interrupted by the manager of the salon.