By Natalia Ruvalcaba
VENTURA, CA – Judge Derek Malan sentenced “SDoe” to misdemeanor probation for 12 months after SDoe pleaded guilty Tuesday in Ventura County Superior County Court to “annoying or molesting” a juvenile—SDoe could have been sent to jail for up to a year, but only has to serve 10 days in jail after the plea deal.
(Note: The accused’s name has been changed; The Vanguard does not usually print true names of those charged with a misdemeanor).
The misdemeanor plea found SDoe “annoyed” or “disturbed” someone under 18 and may have been motivated by an “unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the child.”
The now 18-year-old victim, “Marie” (name changed for anonymity), addressed SDoe in court, describing his attack as a sexual assault that has forever changed her life, stating “I was a freshman in high school when this happened and since then my life has been a rollercoaster of emotions and heartbreak.”
Marie said that, despite trying to reflect and move past this traumatic assault, it is not easy to move forward. She described her adolescence as filled with turmoil due to the event, not only for herself but for those around her.
“I was in complete shock, a surreal numbness incomparable to anything I had ever felt. I felt defeated, used, ashamed, and pathetic. This lasted for months afterwards and can resurface from time to time,” explained Marie.
Life, as Marie said, was anxiety-ridden, and followed by a constant fear of any man. It was not only her mental and emotional wellbeing that were harmed through Serrato’s acts but every aspect of her life was altered, she added.
“My trauma manifested its way into my life through poor grades, mood swings, and depression,” said Marie, describing the medication she was prescribed, and the pressure to act as if she was okay despite not feeling that way.
In Jan. 2019, Marie explains that she “began experiencing flashbacks during everyday life.” A month later, Marie described feeling completely defeated, “I was overcome with a great depression which I had never experienced before.”
In a heart-wrenching plea, Marie stated, “I hated my life. I hated my life and I had no energy to bother to continue going on,” and “I don’t ask for sympathy but I ask for your empathy.”
To SDoe, Marie exclaimed “You were supposed to be a role model for me, like a brother, but you mistook my affection and took advantage of my friendliness… I was 14 and you were 23 and drunk. You’re disgusting and I hope you know you cannot hide from the truth.”
Judge Malan emphasized that, while on probation, SDoe must comply with the conditions set forth, including but not limited to the prohibition of using or possessing alcohol, attending Alcoholics Anonymous, and having no contact with the victim.