Tustin police have arrested a man who is suspected of groping several women
and a girl over the past several weeks. He was taken into custody on Sunday
after a woman identified him at a Tustin apartment building.
According to authorities, they had received five similar reports of
sexual battery since April 19, all describing a man with a comparable description who
approached the female victims and grabbed or touched them in a "private
area." All incidents occurred in Tustin, though at various times
of the day and different locations. Some victims said they were jogging
or walking at the time and others were approached while at mailboxes.
Victims reported that the man had "grabbed the buttocks," "tried
to kiss one of the victims" and "grabbed the vaginal area of
one victim and lifted the dress of another victim." He then fled
the scenes on foot.
The 23-year-old man was booked into Orange County Jail after his arrest
on suspicion of multiple counts of sexual battery, according to a Monday
report by Tustin police.
His arrest occurred on Sunday after one of the alleged victims spotted
who she believed had groped her. According to police, the woman told her
husband, who followed the man and detained him at a local apartment complex
until police arrived. The woman then positively identified the man when
the officers had him in custody.
According to police, the suspect has no criminal history. It is unknown
whether there may have been other incidents of sexual battery in the area
that were not reported.
Sexual Battery Charges in California
California Penal Code Section 243.4 defines the criminal offense of "sexual
battery" and describes penalties that may be imposed on a defendant
who is convicted of this crime. Sexual battery may be defined as touching
another's intimate parts (breast, genitals, buttocks) against the
consent or will of another person, when done for the purposes of sexual
gratification, sexual arousal or sexual abuse. This offense may be charged
as a misdemeanor or a felony in California, with penalties ranging from
6 months to 1 year in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000 (misdemeanor
sexual battery) or 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison and a fine of up to
$10,000 (felony sexual battery).
As a sex crime, sexual battery is a serious offense that requires equally
serious legal counsel. If convicted of misdemeanor or felony sexual battery,
a defendant may face lifetime registration as a sex offender, which may
affect employment, residence, reputation and more. A sex offender must
register and reregister with law enforcement and must also comply with
certain terms of his or her registration, such as avoiding certain types
of employment or being unable to live within a certain distance of a school.
In the situation discussed above, the suspect may face misdemeanor charges
if law enforcement secures sufficient evidence to proceed with a case.
Because the man is suspected of committing multiple counts of sexual battery,
he may face penalties for each alleged offense. With five counts, this
could add up to five years in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Whether the case proceeds and the type of charges and penalties pursued
remains to be seen, however.
One of the first steps any person accused of sexual battery, assault or
any sex crime should take is to contact a criminal defense attorney. These
are some of the most serious criminal charges and may immediately impact
one's job, reputation and personal relationships. At The Law Offices
of Jacqueline Goodman, we are committed to protecting the rights of defendants,
suspects, and arrestees throughout the Orange County area. To learn more
about our firm and how we may be able to help you, please
contact our offices for a confidential consultation.