Ventura Man Arrested After Allegedly Luring Women Into Truck and Sexually Assaulting

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Santa Paula Man Arrested for Sexual Assaults; Sheriff’s Department Seeks Additional Victims

Santa Paula Man Arrested for Sexual Assaults; Sheriff’s Department Seeks Additional Victims

Oct 6, 2022

A 22-year-old Santa Paula, California, man suspected of committing multiple sex crimes was arrested last week after allegedly luring two women into his truck in Ventura, local KTLA Los Angeles reported.

In a press release, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Eliel Mejia was arrested on September 30, a day after a woman reported that she had been approached by him and “lured into his truck at Plaza Park.

Ventura Man Arrested After Allegedly Luring Women Into Truck and Sexually Assaulting

Deputies were called to the 6000 block of Pacific Coast Highway near unincorporated Ventura regarding a sexual assault incident, according to CBS News.

The victim reportedly told law enforcement officials that Mejia used marijuana to get her into the vehicle where two pit bull dogs were located.

According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Mejia is believed to have transported the victim to a dead end on a dirt road in the unincorporated area north of Ventura. He then allegedly threatened and assaulted her with the intent to commit a sexual assault, according to the press release.

“Mejia strangled, tased, and threatened to kill the victim while he was holding a knife,” the Sheriff’s Office stated in the news release.

The victim eventually managed to flee the scene of the alleged sexual assault, subsequently contacting a California Highway Patrol officer and reporting the incident.

Authorities said a second incident occurring on September 13 is believed to have also involved Mejia committing a sex crime. Deputies responded to the 300 block of Hillmont Road in Ventura where a woman said that, while standing outside a liquor store on Ventura Avenue, Mejia lured her into his truck (again under the pretense of smoking marijuana).

The second victim noted to authorities that Mejia had two pit bull dogs with him in the truck.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said that after driving the victim to an orchard in an unincorporated area east of Ventura, Mejia “forcefully sexually assaulted” her.

Investigators soon determined that the two similar sexual assault incidents involved the same suspect. They arrested Mejia last week in the city of Santa Paula. During the arrest, authorities say the suspect was in possession of the stun gun believed to be used during one of the assaults.

Additional evidence was reportedly found after a search of Mejia’s home and vehicle were conducted.

According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Mejia is expected to face multiple sex crime charges, including:

  • Sexual assault
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Criminal threats

Mejia is reportedly being held on $500,000 bail and appeared in court earlier this week.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office has indicated that authorities believe Mejia may have assaulted additional victims. Accordingly, they have released his image and provided the public with a description of the vehicle allegedly used in the incidents:

A white 1997 Dodge Ram extended cab with a California license plate number of 84058H1

Anyone with information related to additional victims or a possible sex crime committed by Eliel Mejia is urged to immediately contact Detective DeLaCerda via 805-384-4724.

How Often are Sexual Assaults Reported to the Police?

Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is proud to work with the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence non-profit, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), in helping to spread awareness and ensure that all survivors of sexual assault obtain the justice they deserve.

As data provided by RAINN confirms, the vast majority of sexual assaults in the U.S. actually go unreported. According to RAINN’s data, only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are ever reported to police (meaning more than two out of every three go unreported).

Why are Sexual Assault and Abuse Crimes Underreported?

According to RAINN, of the sexual violence crimes not reported to police from 2005-2010, the survivor gave the following reasons not wishing to come forward:

  • 20% feared retaliation
  • 13% believed the police would not do anything to help
  • 13% believed it was a personal matter
  • 8% reported to a different official
  • 8% believed it was not important enough to report
  • 7% did not want to get the perpetrator in trouble
  • 2% believed the police could not do anything to help
  • 30% gave another reason, or did not cite one reason

Conversely, RAINN’s date confirms that, of the sexual violence crimes reported to police from 2005-2010, the survivor reporting gave the following reasons for doing so:

  • 28% to protect the household or victim from further crimes by the offender
  • 25% to stop the incident or prevent recurrence or escalation
  • 21% to improve police surveillance or they believed they had a duty to do so
  • 17% to catch/punish/prevent offender from reoffending
  • 6% gave a different answer, or declined to cite one reason
  • 3% did so to get help or recover loss

How to Report a California Sexual Assault Crime

Coming forward to report a sexual assault incident can be difficult for many survivors. No one wants to relive a traumatic experience like sexual violence, and recent events such as the Bill Cosby verdict being overturned have understandably caused many survivors to be more hesitant to come forward despite significant progress being made in the #MeToo era.

However, as DLG’s founder and president, Sam Dordulian, has seen through his extensive experience as a sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, coming forward to report a sexual predator and face that individual in court can be very empowering for survivors.

“What I’ve found over the years, assisting hundreds of survivors, is that those who have gone through the legal process typically find it very empowering. They were once terrified of this scary predator, but eventually come to realize he’s actually not that intimidating when sitting quietly and meek in a courtroom with deputies standing over him, and is eventually carted away in handcuffs. For the first time, it’s the survivors who are now in control, not the perpetrator. And when a survivor takes back that control from the abuser, it can be incredibly healing. I’ve represented victims on countless occasions who are terrified before taking the stand. However, when they decide to take that step, to walk up, get on the stand and testify before that now meek and incarcerated perpetrator, inevitably they come to magically realize that this awful person who had hurt them so severely no longer has any power,” Dordulian says.

How to File a California Sexual Assault Civil Lawsuit

California sexual assault civil lawsuits may be brought by survivors in an effort to recover financial compensation for various types of losses. Depending on the circumstances of a sex crime, compensatory damages may be recovered through a civil lawsuit.

Examples of some common damages that may be secured through a Los Angeles sexual assault or abuse civil claim include:

  • Counseling or therapy expenses
  • Emotional trauma
  • Psychological distress
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Hospital or medical expenses

To read more about the California statute of limitations on sexual assault civil and criminal lawsuits, please visit our in-depth blog. To read about California’s new AB 2777 law which opens a three-year window for all survivors of sexual assault to file claims, please visit our recent post.

Contact a Los Angeles Sexual Assault Lawyer for a Free Consultation

DLG is a leading sexual assault firm based in Glendale, California. DLG offers survivors a unique type of legal representation and support which includes four-tiers of professionals known as the SAJE Team. With DLG, our SAJE Team is available 24/7 to provide you with the best legal representation available while also offering access to a victim advocate, a licensed clinical therapist, and a former Los Angeles Police Department sex crimes detective.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

DLG’s experienced sexual assault attorneys have helped countless survivors secure maximum, multi-million dollar financial damages awards.

For a free and confidential consultation regarding a sexual assault, contact a member of DLG’s SAJE Team today at 818-322-4056. DLG’s sex crime attorneys have helped victims recover more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a 98% success rate.

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