After his sentencing, Massey Haraguchi (left) talks his attorney Robert Sanger
Paul Wellman

Massey Haraguchi, who earlier in the year pleaded “no contest” to assault with intent to rape an intoxicated person, and false imprisonment by violence, was sentenced Friday, September 4, by Judge Frank Ochoa to 365 days in County Jail.

Haraguchi, whose case reached the California Supreme Court, will be on probation upon the completion of his sentence, and have to register as a sex offender. According to prosecutor Paula Waldman, the victim was out with friends in July 2005 and was so intoxicated she had a hard time sitting on a barstool. The group she was with-including Haraguchi, a friend of a friend-helped her home. Authorities believe Haraguchi returned later and sexually assaulted the woman.

The victim told the court on Friday she still couldn’t believe what had happened. “It pains me,” she said, adding that her family sent her to the United States in large part to avoid the high probability of being sexually violated in her home country of Indonesia. “He needs to be given some time to think about what he had done and how he has affected my life,” she said.

The sentence was the harshest Ochoa could give as part of the plea deal, which included Waldman dropping charges of rape of an intoxicated person, oral copulation of an intoxicated person, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and residential burglary. Waldman said that “to describe Mr. Haraguchi as anything but a predatory sexual deviant is nothing more than a justification,” of his actions.

While the woman had a sketchy memory of what happened, she reported the incident to police the following day. In a recorded phone call with the victim, Haraguchi initially denied sexual contact. He later admitted it and was subsequently arrested, Waldman said.

Haraguchi’s case went to the California Supreme Court when his attorney, Robert Sanger, argued that the case’s then-prosecutor, Joyce Dudley, had written a fictional book based on the facts of the case, so it would be improper for her to prosecute. Because a guilty verdict would enhance book sales, Sanger argued, the prosecutor would be unwilling to agree to a plea bargain. The Supreme Court ruled that Dudley’s book was unrelated to the case, however, and to the extent that the two had similarities, it wouldn’t result in an unfair trial. The court also ruled the release of the book near the case’s trial date was coincidental.


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