A 19-year old Los Gatos man was accused of committing “lewd and lascivious acts upon” several young girls, one 13-year-old, one 14-year-old, and two 15-year-olds. The man, David Raymond Bates, pleaded no contest to the accusations, and he was ultimately sentenced by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Phillip Pennypacker to three years probation.
Although Bates is not headed to prison for his crimes, he still faces serious consequences due to the girls’ ages. Because the crimes against the 13-year-old are considered child molestation, Bates has to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life. According to Mercury News, he also “cannot get within 300 yards of Los Gatos High School,” where the victims are students, “or his victims’ homes.”
The girls’ parents were understandably outraged at Judge Pennypacker’s sentence. One mother told The Mercury News that her daughter “has become increasingly withdrawn. Once word got out at the high school, she was bullied. Her grades went from A’s and B’s to D’s and F’s. She was diagnosed with PTSD.”
“Keep him in jail until his victims have finished high school,” the woman said.
Another upset father was escorted from the courtroom after the ruling was handed down, yelling “if he[‘d] stolen a car, he’d be going to prison. You’re a joke.”
“The only way to ensure our girls do not have to fear facing this predator on the street is by putting him in prison,” another mother said.
A plea of no contest “neither admits nor disputes a charge,” but simply has different residual effects, according to PBS. This is likely the reason Bates was able to avoid criminal charges. Judge Pennypacker reaffirmed his decision, saying, “This is the type of person who is not predisposed to commit offenses against children. I agree there was some minor stalking and coercion.”
Bates remains on probation for three years within Santa Ana County and faces further prosecution if he violates those terms. Bates graduated from Los Gatos High School, the school the victims currently attend.