A 15-year-old male was arrested in connection with the rape of a 19-year-old woman late Friday, Sept. 17, in her home on Murray Street, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney, Jerret Gran.
According to multiple sources, the suspect was charged as an adult for allegedly raping the woman in a hearing Monday morning. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
San Luis Obispo police suspect the male of not only the alleged rape, but also of several burglaries in the area. Gran said he is unsure why the suspect may have progressed from burglary to violence.
“There are different levels of criminal sophistication, and some people just commit burglaries when no one’s home,” Gran said. “It’s a whole (different) level when you attack that person or sexually assault that person.”
The suspect had also been on probation, Gran said, though he did not state what the male was on probation for.
“Probation means you either spent time in jail or juvenile hall, or sometimes not at all,” Gran said. “(It is at) the judge’s discretion.”
Although the suspect’s age is an issue, Gran prescribes that the suspect be charged as an adult.
“(The suspect) is currently 15 years old. We have filed a criminal complaint in adult court,” Gran said.
Gran also must follow the law when it comes to cases including minors and serious crimes. Proposition 21, passed in 2000, “requires adult trial for juveniles 14 or older charged with murder or specified sex offenses,” according to an official trial and summary prepared by the Attorney General. Though the suspect is underage, Gran said he believes that due to Proposition 21 making “the charges we filed … mandatory,” there will not be controversy when it comes to him being charged as an adult.
“If a person is convicted in juvenile court, the most someone can be incarcerated as a juvenile is 25 … even if you convict someone for 30 to 40 years,” Gran said. “If we convict (the suspect) in adult court, he will get a longer sentence because we won’t have that restriction of 25 years.”
Captain Chris Staley of the San Luis Obispo Police Department, said members of the community should lock their doors, travel in groups and stay in lit areas.
“The best thing we can have folks do, especially with young women, is stay in groups,” Staley said. “A couple years ago, we had a person who was groping people at night. The women that he attacked were all alone, so if you can stay together, that would be a good idea.”
Staley also said that incidents like this in which the alleged rapist is a stranger are uncommon; rather, of the “22-30 reported rapes in the city each year … 99 percent of those were acquaintances and most of them involved alcohol.”
“(This) was a singular incident,” Staley said about the case. “It is not a growing trend in the city.”
Kasey Cordova, a 25-year-old San Luis Obispo resident who frequents downtown, was rattled by the incident and said she has started to take more precautions to keep herself safe.
“I try not to walk by myself at night anymore because I used to be pretty bad about that,” Cordova said. “I (also) carry mace now. I’ve always had it, but I didn’t used to carry it.”