D’ Sant Angelo Prosecution Hits Snag
When Is a Victim Not a Victim?
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Spectators in a Santa Barbara Superior Courtroom yesterday were stunned when a woman named as a victim in a financial elderly abuse case stood up and told the judge, “I am not a victim.”
The District Attorney’s office is charging that Denise d’ Sant Angelo stole money from Cecilia “Sally” Sanchez and her Montecito barber husband Bobby-financial elder abuse-but Cecilia leapt up from her seat among spectators to deny it. Both women have not only been friends in the past but apparently still are.
D’ Sant Angelo is also facing separate felony charges of stealing $2,800 from donations intended to aid three nuns two years ago. At the time, d’ Sant Angelo, as president, named Sanchez vice president of the group handling donations, Save Our Sisters. The financial elderly abuse charges reportedly do not involve the donations.
Judge Clifford Anderson today granted a request by deputy D.A. Brian Cota to place a three-day restraining order on d’ Sant Angelo to keep her from communicating with and possibly influencing witnesses and victims, either directly or via third parties.
Cota said he needed the restraining order because “I’m worried” about d’ Sant Angelo’s influence on Sanchez. “Basically,” he said of the defendant, “she’s doing a confidence game.” D’ Sant Angelo’s public defender, Jeff Chambliss, in opposing the order, called Cota’s concerns “ridiculous.”
D’Sant Angelo is in custody in lieu of $70,000 bail. Cecilia Sanchez has refused to discuss her I’m-not-a-victim position with Cota. Judge Anderson asked her to get together with Cota before Thursday’s hearing to explain.
Barney Brantingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 965-5205, Ext. 230. He writes online columns and a print column on Thursdays