By Judy Peterson
A Los Gatos man who pleaded no contest to 13 charges of having unlawful sexual relations with four girls ages 13 to 15 has been sentenced to three years’ probation, prompting outrage from a parent angered by the sentence.
David Raymond Bates was 19 years old when the crimes occurred between June and August of 2012. Bates is a Los Gatos High School graduate who is listed on the school’s 2010 football roster.
The four girls Bates committed “lewd and lascivious acts upon,” including unlawful sexual intercourse, are identified in the district attorney’s charging document as a 13-year-old, a 14-year-old and two 15-year-olds.
As Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Philip Pennypacker sentenced Bates, one girl’s father yelled, “If he stolen a car, he’d be going to prison. You’re a joke.”
The father was escorted from the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies.
Other parents pleaded with the judge to impose a prison sentence. “The only way to ensure our girls do not have to fear facing this predator on the street is by putting him in prison,” one mother said.
The mother said her daughter’s life is now ruined. “My daughter went off the rails,” she said. “She wouldn’t talk about it for four weeks and she dropped out of school.”
The mother went on to say, “He was working on two other girls when he was arrested. He was watching them at cheerleading practice. The school got a restraining order because parents were complaining about him.”
Another mother said her daughter has become an outcast. “My daughter has become increasingly withdrawn. Once word got out at the high school, she was bullied,” the mother said. “Her grades went from A’s and B’s to D’s and F’s. She was diagnosed with PTSD.”
Then, crying and hands visibly shaking, the mother said, “Keep him in jail until his victims have finished high school.”
Bates has been in jail since his arrest, but Pennypacker gave him credit for time served, making him eligible for immediate release.
Judge Pennypacker outlined his reasons for not keeping Bates in jail longer, citing his lack of a prior criminal record, and overcrowded state prisons and local jails.
He also cited a doctor’s ruling that Bates does not exhibit the tendencies of a pedophile. “This is the type of person who is not predisposed to commit offenses against children,” Pennypacker said. “I agree there was some minor stalking and coercion.”
But the acts against the 13-year-old are considered child molestation and therefore make Bates a three-striker. He is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and cannot get within 300 yards of Los Gatos High School or his victims’ homes.
Pennypacker noted that at the time of his arrest Bates had no job and few skills. Even so, he will be required to pay restitution to the families for the mental health and other costs incurred on behalf of their daughters. Bates is not allowed any social media interaction during his probation.
Pennypacker said he will put Bates in prison if he violates the terms of his probation.
Deputy district attorney Clarissa Hamilton said, “He will be watched very, very closely. He is considered a high risk.” She told the parents that if Bates “goes and does something stupid” he will be prosecuted again.