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Cotati man accepts plea deal in roadside gropings

A Cotati man awaiting trial in a series of roadside sexual assaults dating back to 2008 folded his case Thursday after accepting a deal with prosecutors that will send him to prison for nearly 16 years.

Thomas Boccaleoni, 47, faced more than 28 years behind bars if he had been convicted at his scheduled Nov. 2 trial.

He was charged with 10 felonies in connection with three incidents in which he was accused of flagging down women drivers and molesting them.

He instead pleaded no contest to three felony counts, including attempted sexual battery and assault with attempt to commit rape. His punishment was doubled because of a prior "strike" conviction in 2005 for a San Francisco residential burglary, prosecutor Tashawn Sanders said.

Under the agreement, Boccaleoni will be sentenced to 15 years, eight months in prison at a Nov. 7 hearing. He will be required to serve 85 percent of the sentence before he is eligible for parole, said his lawyer, Andy Martinez.

Boccaleoni took the deal despite a pending defense motion to dismiss the case over the destruction of incriminating DNA evidence.

Martinez said Boccaleoni didn't want his victims to endure the emotional strain of testifying at trial.

Boccaleoni was arrested in April 2009 and has been in jail ever since. Witnesses testified at his preliminary hearing that he lured women motorists by telling them something was wrong with their cars. When they pulled over, he fondled them, witnesses said.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.


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