Haraguchi Pleads No Contest to Assault Charges

Case Following 2005 Incident Went All the Way to State Supreme Court

Massey Haraguchi, whose case got all the way to the California Supreme Court, pleaded no contest to assault with the intent to rape an intoxicated person and false imprisonment by violence in a plea bargain in front of Judge Frank Ochoa on Monday, the day the case was supposed to go to trial.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutor Paula Waldman dropped charges of rape of an intoxicated person, oral copulation of an intoxicated person, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and residential burglary. Haraguchi, who has yet to be sentenced, is expected to be placed on three-years’ probation and will do between 90 and 365 days of jail time. He will also have to register as a sex offender.

Waldman said the victim was out with friends in July 2005 in a group that included Haraguchi - a friend of a friend - and had too much to drink. She was so intoxicated she couldn’t even sit on a barstool, and a team of people, including Haraguchi, helped get her home. When they left the house they couldn’t lock the door. Authorities allege Haraguchi was driven home, but returned 45 minutes later and sexually assaulted the woman.

The woman had a sketchy memory of what happened, but reported the incident the next day to police. During a pretext phone call with the victim that was recorded, Haraguchi initially denied sexual contact. He later admitted it and was subsequently arrested. Physical evidence was seized, Waldman said, though she didn’t elaborate.

After two years Haraguchi can apply for early termination of probation, but should he violate probation he could face six years and eight months in prison.

Bob Sanger, attorney for Haraguchi, 30, had no comment because the case was still pending.

The Haraguchi case achieved notoriety when Sanger claimed then-prosecutor Joyce Dudley had written a fictional novel based on the Haraguchi case. Dudley denied the accusation. Sanger appealed all the way to the California Supreme Court, which heard arguments from Sanger and the District Attorney’s office early last year. Sanger alleged that Dudley’s novel, Intoxicating Agent, was based on his client’s case, and he attempted to show the state Supreme Court similarities between the two. Ochoa had ruled the account was unrelated to Haraguchi’s case and that “to the extent there might be any conflict, it was not so great as to render it unlikely Haraguchi would receive a fair trial,” according to the high court’s opinion, which upheld Ochoa’s decision in May 2008.

As a result, however, District Attorney Christie Stanley took Dudley off the case shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision, and said prosecutors wouldn’t be allowed to write books about prosecutions while employed in the District Attorney’s office.

Haraguchi will be sentenced on August 26.

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