By Ariana Camarena
A man was found guilty of sexual battery and resisting arrest, or delaying or obstructing an officer.
In a jury trial, Christopher Luster faced charges of two misdemeanor counts. The first charge was a sexual battery charge. The second charge was for resisting a public officer. These two violations of the law allegedly occurred on Aug. 2, 2018. Jury deliberation took place on Dec. 5, 2019, and concluded with a verdict.
The testifying officer stated that the defendant allegedly appeared evasive after witnesses claimed the defendant harassed them.
During the trial, two witnesses testified to being touched by the defendant in an inappropriate manner.
The first witness described one incident that allegedly occurred on Aug. 15, 2018. She claimed that she had been walking to a Marshalls storefront while on her phone, when an individual passed her and grabbed her rear. As she turned, she did not catch his face but did state he appeared to be a tall, thin African American with red tips on his hair, and he had a skateboard with bright orange wheels. The individual skated away as she yelled at him. She later reported the incident to the police.
The second witness stated that the defendant had been one of her clients at a hair salon. Mr. Luster had allegedly been interested in putting a blonde or red streak in his hair and asked the witness for her number. She believed that the number would be used for the purposes of sending over potential designs for the defendant’s hair but he repeatedly asked if he could call her for other reasons as well. The witness asked if he could clarify and then asked if he made up the conversation to get her number. Sometime after that interaction, she next saw the defendant having his hair done by someone else, but he continued to stare at her. Worried, she asked someone to walk her to her car.
A month later, she walked to Starbucks for her break and saw him skateboarding toward her, saying he looked angry. As he passed her, he grabbed her rear. She yelled at him and informed the Starbucks security guard and her husband, but did not report the incident to the police.
Two officers also testified in the case.
On Aug. 2, 2018, Woodland Police Officer Kent Chan was on duty and received a dispatch call to keep an eye out for a black male adult that was about 20 to 30 years old, tall and thin, and riding a skateboard. An individual with that description was reported to have groped someone in front of the Marshalls.
Officer Chan noticed a person skateboarding by who wore a hat, eyeglasses, a tan backpack and a blue shirt. The officer did not believe the description matched him but learned through dispatch that the man in question had eyeglasses and a baseball cap. Officer Chan made a U-turn and pulled his sirens up behind the individual. As he pulled him over, Officer Chan shared he was looking for a suspect in a sexual battery incident and learned the name of the man he stopped was Christopher Luster.
Mr. Luster stated that he needed to return to his work to find his eyeglasses and catch his bus, to which the officer responded by saying he needed to stay. Officer Shepard arrived two minutes later. A civilian approached the officer and, during this time, the defendant skateboarded away. The officers flashed their lights and looked for the defendant. Officer Chan did not find Mr. Luster at his alleged workplace.
Detective Marcus Masingale testified to searching Mr. Luster’s room and gaining security footage of the defendant. In the room, he found the box for a skateboard with bright orange wheels and a tan backpack.