Jun 10, 2021
Less than six months after being released from Coalinga State Hospital, a registered sex offender allegedly struck again. Jorge Vasquez, 48, was arrested Sunday by police in Porterville, California. A judge had released the known sexual predator in 2018, ruling his right to a speedy trial had been violated after a 17-year delay.
According to a criminal complaint made public on Tuesday, Vasquez was charged with eight counts of child molestation for allegedly fondling two boys – ages six to 10 years old – in Tulare and San Luis Obispo Counties between June 2018 and this past week. Additionally, Vasquez is charged with failing to register as a sex offender.
Tulare County District Attorney, Tim Ward, issued a statement indicating the alleged abuse began in June 2018, which was less than six months after Vasquez had been released from the state hospital by order of a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge.
According to court records, Vasquez had been in either state prison or a state hospital since 1995, after pleading no contest to multiple counts of child molestation. He was convicted of luring several children – between six and eight years of age – to a South Los Angeles alleyway in 19994. Vasquez used candy to get the children to follow him and then, court records indicate, he performed oral sex on three boys and forced another to perform oral sex on him. Vasquez was sentenced to 12 years in prison for those sex crimes.
Prior to Vasquez’s scheduled release in 2000, Los Angeles County prosecutors cited California’s Sexually Violent Predator Act in an effort to have him committed to a state hospital. The Sexually Violent Predator act was established after public outcry over sex offenders receiving sentences that were deemed too lenient. The law allows prosecutors to move to have offenders committed for an indeterminate amount of time if the defendant:
Vasquez, however, never received a trial date regarding the Sexually Violent Predator Act.
The Los Angeles Times reported that over the course of 17 years, five different public defenders rotated on and off Vasquez’s case. Each attorney asked the court to push back the trial so they could properly prepare for the hearing. In late 2017, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, James Bianco, disqualified the public defender’s office from the Vasquez case. The following year, Judge Bianco granted a motion to dismiss the case against Vasquez, ruling that his constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated.
“There was a systemic breakdown of the public defender system,” said Bianco when dismissing Vasquez’s case.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Deputy Public Defender, Terry Shenkman, told the court in a 2014 hearing that the public defender’s office had reduced the number of attorneys working on cases involving sexually violent predators down to half. In 2016, through a motion to dismiss the charges against Vasquez, Deputy Public Defender, David Santiago, told Judge Bianco he did not “think Mr. Vasquez is being treated fairly by my office.”
The overload of cases handed to public defenders became a concern last year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times reported that there was a “massive backlog in the county’s court systems” and at least a dozen public defenders had confirmed to the media outlet that their caseloads had “doubled, and in some cases tripled.”
The Times also noted that Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, Richard Ceballos, previously complained to Judge Bianco when the public defenders had filed the motion to dismiss, citing the belief that Vasquez would almost certainly reoffend. Ceballos recently expressed extreme frustration that Vasquez had once again been arrested in connection with sex crime allegations, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“This is every prosecutor’s worst nightmare,” Ceballos told the local media outlet. “You work hard to keep someone in custody … when [the Tulare County district attorney’s office] called me, I was just sick to my stomach.”
All new charges against Vasquez will be prosecuted in Tulare County. The Los Angeles Times reported that Tulare County District Attorney, Tim Ward, filed multiple special allegations against Vasquez, which could ensure he faces life in prison if convicted as charged.
In 2020, new legislation known as California Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218) took effect. This new law allows all survivors of childhood sexual abuse an unprecedented opportunity at justice. Under AB 218, survivors of California childhood sexual abuse are eligible to file a civil lawsuit seeking to recover financial damages against an abuser. Regardless of how long ago the crime occurred, AB 218 allows childhood sexual abuse survivors a limited window to file a claim under the law’s three-year “lookback window” clause.
While sexual abuse crimes outside of the statute of limitations would normally be ineligible for any legal recourse, AB 218 changes that (temporarily) through the lookback window clause. Until December 31, 2022, all survivors of childhood sexual abuse have the option to come forward and bring a civil claim. Doing so could be the best and only means of recovering financial compensation for such heinous childhood abuse that took place outside of the traditional statute of limitations.
Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) founder and president, Sam Dordulian, has described AB 218 as a “time machine” that allows survivors of past childhood sex abuse the opportunity to finally obtain the justice that is long overdue. Dordulian created DLG’s Sex Crime Division to include a SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) of professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping survivors of sexual abuse and are available 24/7.
With four-tiers of representation and support, DLG’s Sex Crimes Division is a unique and all-encompassing option available to survivors of sexual abuse.
If you would like to come forward with a childhood sexual abuse claim, we are here to listen to you and help provide unconditional support. At DLG, we believe survivors of childhood sexual trauma should receive more than just expert legal representation, which is why we offer complete access to the four-tiered SAJE Team 24/7. AB 218 is an opportunity at justice that is only available for a limited time. For more information, to ask any questions, or for a free consultation please contact us online or by phone at 818-322-4056.
With a 98% success rate and over $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts recovered for our clients, DLG is the premier sex crimes firm in California. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you secure the justice you deserve on your own terms.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.