WEATHER »

Sexy Dancing’ or Sexual Battery?

Female Foreign Student Reportedly Groped and Assaulted on Dance Floor


A 29-year-old Santa Barbara man was arrested shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday morning at Tonic Nightclub for felony sexual battery after he allegedly made unwanted sexual contact with a woman on the dance floor.

Although he declined to make a statement, Elpidio Garcia-Venegas initially said he was “sexy dancing” with women at Tonic. “Sexy dancing,” however, purportedly became sexual battery when Garcia-Venegas forced himself on a 22-year-old female foreign student on the dance floor.

According to the police investigation, Garcia-Venegas offered to buy the victim a drink, which she accepted. The victim then agreed to dance with Garcia-Venegas.

Elpidio Garcia-Venegas
Click to enlarge photo

SBPD

Elpidio Garcia-Venegas

However, once on the dance floor, Garcia-Venegas allegedly forcefully pushed the victim through the crowd and against the wall of the deejay booth. He then allegedly pulled down the top of her dress and reached up it, continuously groping her and making unwanted sexual contact. Between the wall and Garcia-Venegas and the crowded dance floor, the victim was unable to get away.

The victim cried for help and struggled, but police say loud music prevented her calls from being heard until a passing busboy noticed that something was wrong. While moving through the crowded dance floor, the Tonic employee saw the victim was visibly distraught, crying, and looking panicked. He then shined his flashlight on Garcia-Venegas and inquired about the situation, at which point the suspect attempted to leave the club. The busboy restrained him and alerted security, who escorted him outside and detained him until officers arrived.

Garcia-Venegas was taken into custody at 12:41 a.m. by Santa Barbara police officers outside of the club, who booked him into County Jail on $250,000 bail. According to the SBPD, sexual battery is a felony when the victim is unlawfully restrained. The victim was transported to the SBPD and put in touch with a representative from the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center.

event calendar sponsored by: