Nearly a year after 4-year-old Yoni Gottesman drowned in a
swimming pool at the Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club, the Santa
Barbara District Attorney’s office announced there was
“insufficient basis” to file criminal charges in the case. The
decision – which was publicly released at a press conference last
Thursday – was an outrage to the boy’s family and their lawyer
Barry Cappello. According to the victim’s father, Oded Gottesman,
the family plans to file an appeal and bring a civil suit against
the Goleta-based athletic club and those on pool duty when the boy
drowned. At the root of their argument is an approximately 7-minute
security video showing Yoni lying motionless on the surface of the
water just a few feet from the lifeguard, camp counselors, and swim
instructors. The prosecution also points out that the summer
program Yoni was attending was not properly permitted. Though he
refused to comment on a potential civil suit, DA Tom Sneddon
offered that the lifeguard “may have been inattentive and may not
have done the job he was supposed to have done,” but it didn’t
amount to criminal negligence.


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