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Former Sebastopol mayor charged with 11 felonies in child sex assault case

Cannabis entrepreneur and former Sebastopol Mayor Robert Jacob was arraigned on 11 felony charges at the Sonoma Superior Court Tuesday in connection with a child sex assault investigation that led to his arrest over the weekend.

The charges filed by local prosecutors on Tuesday represent an expansion of the five felonies and one misdemeanor Jacob, 44, was suspected of committing following his arrest by Sebastopol police officers Saturday morning on Woodland Avenue.

They include five counts of lewd acts with a child ages 14 to 15 by a person at least 10 years older than them, two counts of procuring a child under the age of 16 for lewd acts and sexual penetration of someone under the age of 16.

The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office declined to provide an explanation for the additional charges brought against Jacob when reached Tuesday afternoon. The investigation centers around one person who has come forward to police, Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said.

Jacob, who was represented by Santa Rosa attorney Chris Andrian, attended the hearing virtually by Zoom video while in custody at the Sonoma County Jail.

He went from being ineligible for release on bail to a bail of $620,000, an amount based on the number and nature of the charges listed in the criminal complaint against Jacob.

Jacob founded the Sebastopol medical marijuana dispensary Peace in Medicine in 2007, was elected to the City Council in 2012 and was picked by his colleagues to serve as the city’s mayor the following year and left office after serving a single four-year term. He remained in custody at the Sonoma County Jail Tuesday night.

Andrian, Jacob’s attorney, did not return a phone call seeking comment about the charges filed against his client.

Sebastopol police launched their investigation against Jacob following a March 30 report involving potential sexual assaults that occurred in the city between December 2019 and March 2021.

“Once that investigation gleaned enough information, our officers then sought the guidance and assistance from the (District Attorney’s) Office, which resulted in a warrant for the suspect’s arrest,” Sebastopol Police Chief Kevin Kilgore said.

In an interview Monday, Kilgore declined to describe how Jacob and the person who was reported being sexually assaulted by him might have known each other, nor how Jacob is alleged to have gained access to the minor.

He also did not provide information about how officers tracked Jacob to Sebastopol’s Woodland Avenue during the arrest.

Jacob will return to court on Thursday afternoon, where he’ll be able to enter a plea. Andrian and prosecutors are also scheduled to revisit the topic of Jacob’s bail.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Robert Jacob is co-founder of Peace in Medicine. A photo caption in earlier version of this story contained incorrect information.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @nashellytweets.

Nashelly Chavez

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Press Democrat 

Who calls the North Bay home and how do their backgrounds, socioeconomic status and other factors shape their experiences? What cultures, traditions and religions are celebrated where we live? These are the questions that drive me as I cover diversity, equity and inclusion in Sonoma County and beyond.   

 

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