Charges of sexual assault are life changing as they can ruin reputation, relationships, and careers.
On July 2, 2012, Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante, 47, was charged with sexually assaulting seven women, while working for the Orange County Public Works, in what prosecutors said was an abuse of power and public trust. The allegations against the Councilman include luring women into his office during business hours, under pretenses of discussing business matters, only to hug, kiss, and grope them.
The alleged sexual assaults are said to have occurred between 2003 and last year. However, statute of limitations restrict additional charges with twelve other women from being filed. The victims are said to have faced intimidation tactics and were fearful of losing their jobs if they were to come forward. As a result, a judge has ordered Bustamante have no contact with the seven women he is alleged to have sexually assaulted before and during the trial.
Bustamante’s defense attorney is asking for dismissal of all charges, accusing the Office of the Orange County District Attorney of deliberately hindering his client’s opportunity to have a fair trial. Specifically, he accuses the District Attorney of excessive comments that crossed the line of acceptable legal conduct to tarnish Bustamante as a “sexual offender of the worst sort.”
Bustamante’s arraignment has been re-scheduled for July 26. If convicted on all counts, Bustamante faces a maximum of 26 years in state prison, and would be subject to lifetime sex offender registration.
If you have been accused of sexual assault, the experienced Orange County Criminal Law firm of Don Ho, LLP can help you better understand your legal rights and options.