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Child molester to pay $10,000 to teen Santa Rosa victim

In a rare award for psychological damages by the criminal courts, an Alameda man who had phone sex with a 13-year-old Santa Rosa girl and drove to her school to meet her was ordered Friday to pay for emotional suffering caused by his acts.

Arnold Luz, 47, who served 10 months in jail, was ordered by Judge Gary Medvigy to pay $10,000 under a state law that allows the special form of restitution only for child molestation victims.

Medvigy rejected a request for $50,000 but said he would consider awarding additional money for such things as counseling after a hearing in September. The judge also ordered Luz to pay $1,300 for the family's out-of-pocket expenses.

"Each case must be looked at individually," Medvigy said from the bench. "And putting a dollar figure on that is very challenging."

The girl's mother said the amount was fair but expressed hope that she might receive more from Luz to cover therapy for her daughter and other stress-related expenses. She said the ordeal caused her daughter to grind her teeth and rack up dental bills.

None of the money would go to legal fees, her lawyer said.

Luz declined to comment as he left court. He was convicted of sexual molestation and currently is on probation.

Normally, non-economic damages for emotional suffering are awarded by the civil courts. Restitution orders in criminal cases are limited to payments for travel, funeral or other documented expenses.

But a provision in state law allows other financial payments for child-sex victims. Judges may award it to compensate for psychological damage and also as additional punishment.

Prosecutors said it hasn't happened often in Sonoma County — if at all. "In our collective memory here in the office we can't recall" another case, said Assistant District Attorney Christine Cook said.


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