Recently, a yoga instructor with studios in both California and Montana was found guilty by the Los Angeles County Superior Court on multiple counts of sexual battery. Sexual battery can be treated either as a misdemeanor or felony; the yoga instructor in this case received a misdemeanor conviction. This case illustrates a few points worth mentioning about what constitutes sexual battery, including the following:
- People can be charged with sexual battery even if they didn't use violent physical force. In a case of sexual battery, the victim doesn't necessarily suffer any physical injuries, and there doesn't need to be sexual penetration either. At minimum, the perpetrator must have come into physical contact with the victim's intimate body part(s) against their will, and must have done so in order to achieve arousal, gratify a need, or abuse the victim.
- The yoga teacher was specifically charged with sexual battery on the grounds that he misrepresented his reasons for touching his students. Under the false pretense of healing his students, he groped them and touched them inappropriately in other ways. Under the circumstances, he didn't properly obtain consent from them.
- Whether or not an act of sexual battery will be classified as a felony isn't always clear. If the perpetrator held the victim down forcibly or took advantage of someone who's mentally incapacitated, the charge is more likely to be a felony. But individuals have also been charged with felony sexual battery in cases involving misrepresentation, similar to the one with the yoga instructor here.
Even if the crime is treated as a misdemeanor, the convicted perpetrator will be listed on a sex offender registry for life. If you're arrested for sexual battery in Temecula, Murrieta, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Corona or Riverside, you'll want to get the best legal representation. Contact and consult with us in person about your case at our office near the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, CA.