By Sydney Morrissey
Woodland — In a preliminary hearing concerning sexually charged public misconduct, a man is accused of threatening a 12-year-old female victim.
On July 13, 2019, a young girl stood outside of her apartment, where she became visibly overcome with fear after viewing an inappropriate display by her neighbor, Nouphoy Phetphayboune.
Through his apartment window, Phetphayboune beckoned the victim, referred to by the court as “A.V.” or “little girl”, by knocking on the window, asking her to “come inside” and requesting for her to kiss him. Feeling startled and afraid, described by the People as “frozen with fear,” A.V. attempted to retrieve her younger brother from her home. The defendant now stood in his doorway, dressed in sweatpants and no shirt, only to repeat his disturbing calls out to the little girl. Phetphayboune proceeded to force a hand down his pants to massage his genitals while he spoke.
Another tenant of the complex exited their apartment and stood in their doorway, out of sight of the defendant and visually unaware of his actions. After viewing a clearly upset A.V., the neighbor asked if she was okay and advised her to flee. The little girl ran away crying, shaking, and ultimately alone. The aforementioned misconduct had been recorded via cell phone video by the victim.
This neighbor had not made verbal contact with Phetphayboune for two years, following a similarly inappropriate incident where the defendant stood outside of their homes and called out the neighbor’s name, dressed only in his underwear.
Her mother, a witness to the aftermath of A.V.’s traumatic display, is the individual who notified authorities of the incident, and an investigator and officer, acting as witnesses in this preliminary hearing, were dispatched.
Investigator Nahmans spoke with the mother and little girl, retrieving video evidence, before identifying, questioning, and arresting the defendant. Due to a language barrier issue made especially complicated by the use of a Thai interpreter when Mr. Phetphayboune’s native language is Laotian, it is still unclear whether the defendant was aware of waiving his Miranda rights before making a spontaneous statement. In the statement to the investigator, the defendant spoke in English, stating that the little girl ran to her brother, the brother verbally confronted Phetphayboune, and that the little girl “would go into the apartment” while he claimed to never having seen “the front of her.”
In cross-examination, the deputy public defender questioned the witness’s ability to gauge the defendant’s understanding and waiving of rights, emphasizing the translation issue. Nahmans revealed that the Thai translator was understood by Phetphayboune, but his Thai responses were not understood or documented by the translator.
The defense also highlighted that the victim was not grabbed or pursued by the defendant, who instead retreated into his home after committing the offense.
Judge Janene Beronio declared the case had enough circumstantial to hold the defendant to answer, and the next court date was set for August 15, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.