Recently, a photo has been released of a man somewhere between 25 and 40 years of age, wearing black pants, a black shirt, and a red tie, who is wanted in connection with 2 separate incidents of fondling young girls in the San Leandro Walmart and Target stores. The man evidently approached 2 girls in a local Walmart store and touched one of them inappropriately before running away. Then, it is suspected that he headed to a nearby Target in Bayfair Center and proceeded to do the same thing to another girl there. Surveillance cameras in the stores recorded both incidents and stills of the man are available to view online for identification.
California Penal Code 288 (“Lewd Acts with a Child”) covers not only what is more commonly known as ‘child molestation,’ but the inappropriate touching of any child by an adult. This law defines inappropriate touching as touching that occurs for the purposes of sexual gratification. It could mean that an adult touches a child in an unacceptable way, even the touching or fondling occurs over clothing and not in private areas of the body. If the suspect is arrested and charged of child molestation, there will be severe penalties.
If the child in question is under the age of 14, then penalties may include up to 8 years in state prison. However, there are sentencing enhancements in the case of force being used (10 years) or if a pattern of 3 or more incidences emerges during the course of the investigation (up to 16 years).