By Dorrin Akbari
SACRAMENTO – Judge Michael Savage—calling the accused “monstrous”—kept bail Monday here in Sacramento County Superior Court set at $2.4 million for a defendant* accused of sexually abusing a minor, his biological granddaughter.
(*NOTE: The Vanguard is not identifying the defendant because it could expose the victim’s identity)
Private defense attorney Dale Gomes established his core argument that his client’s $2.4 million bail should be reduced because the case involved “very, very, very serious charges but [was] postured a little bit uniquely.”
The defendant was alleged to have engaged in several sexual acts with a minor for three years, but the defendant wasn’t charged until several years, after the alleged victim turned 18.
He implored Judge Timothy Savage to consider a pretrial release for the defendant, while imposing appropriate conditions to ensure he “doesn’t have access to older teenagers.”
He further noted that the defendant was the caretaker for his 85-year-old mother, who had been hospitalized twice while the defendant had been in custody. Gomes was careful not to discuss the details of his client’s charges.
Deputy District Attorney TeriAnn Grimes was the first to shed light on what had allegedly transpired between the defendant and his victim.
The granddaughter was under his care, but his conduct quickly escalated from inappropriate hugs and touches to sexual acts. He’d often threaten the victim, saying “If you report me, you will be homeless. You’ll end up a drug addict.”
Here, DDA Grimes was quick to note that the defendant was believed to have supplied cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and alcohol to the victim as rewards for having sexual contact with him. It was alleged that the defendant would regularly spike the victim’s water with methamphetamine, calling it an “energy drink.”
The victim reported becoming so addicted that she initiated sexual acts at times solely to procure more methamphetamine.
Further corroborating the victim’s claims was a recorded pretext meeting between the victim and the defendant. During the meeting, the defendant admitted or alluded to much of the sexual activity that occurred and offered the victim marijuana.
DDA Grimes added that investigators were in possession of underwear from the victim that she had kept after her last sexual encounter with the defendant prior to moving out. A sperm fragment from that piece of evidence was confirmed to belong to the defendant’s lineage.
“Everything in this case indicated that the defendant not only committed these sexual acts, but he did so in a way that really took advantage of the vulnerability of the victim…his threats to her, and his using of intoxicating substances. Because he has done it at that level, I do believe that bail is appropriately set.”
With the true nature of the defendant’s allegations having been laid out for the court, Gomes attempted to make an appeal to his client’s legal rights in his defense.
“Regardless of how offensive the sounds of these allegations are, the defendant is entitled to at least some reasonable bail based on his circumstances. $2.4 million is treating him like he’s a man of great means. He has no significant means whatsoever to post anywhere near that kind of bail,” Gomes said.
Having heard the arguments from both parties, Judge Savage began to outline the logic behind his decision.
“For the purposes of bail, I’m required to assume all of this is true. Given the pretext [meeting] and the DNA, it looks like it is [true],” said the judge.
Savage then addressed Gomes’ initial argument that the prosecution’s delay in filing charges should be taken as a sign that they didn’t believe his client to be a threat to society—and that his bail should therefore be lowered.
“On any objective evaluation, someone who’d do that to a 16-year-old (minor) over and over and over poses the highest risk because he’s taking advantage of the most vulnerable person in our community.”
Judge Savage kept the defendant’s bail set at $2.4 million.
He did not, however, simply conclude the proceedings with the rendering of his ruling. Having been visibly affected by the graphic nature of the alleged acts committed by the defendant, Judge Savage delivered a few closing remarks.
“It’s obviously premeditated. It’s calculated. It’s coercive. It’s manipulative. It’s horrendous. It’s the very definition of a monstrous threat to the community. He’s demonstrated that beyond any doubt,” said the judge.
Dorrin Akbari graduated from UC Berkeley in 2019 with a B.A. in Legal Studies and a minor in Persian. She is from San Jose, CA.
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