Former Sebastopol Mayor Robert Jacob pleads no contest to child sex crimes, reaches deal of 7 years in prison
Former Sebastopol Mayor Robert Jacob pleaded no contest to six counts of child sex crimes and will be sentenced to seven years in prison and spend the rest of his life as a registered sex offender.
Jacob, 45, was scheduled for a jury trial Friday, but during a readiness conference last week he reached a plea deal with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, said Andrew Lukas, the chief deputy district attorney.
In a March court hearing, the victim, who is a minor, testified that he met Jacob through the Grindr dating app. He said Jacob knew he was underage, but touched him sexually multiple times, sent him nude photos and invited unknown men to have sex with him.
Jacob pleaded no contest to procuring a child for lewd or lascivious acts; lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 15; sexual penetration with a foreign object; distribution or showing of harmful matter; contact or communication with a minor with the intent to commit a specified offense; and unlawfully arranging to meet a minor to engage in lewd and lascivious acts.
He also admitted to several aggravating factors: the victim was particularly vulnerable; he induced others to participate in the crime; and he carried out the crime with a manner indicative of planning, sophistication or professionalism.
Five charges were dismissed based on the plea bargain, Lukas said.
Jacob, who founded a medical marijuana dispensary Peace in Medicine, was elected to the City Council in 2012.
In 2013, he was selected as mayor, making him one of the first mayors in the nation with a background in the medical marijuana industry.
In March 2016, Jacob took a leave of absence from office to care for his ailing mother. He also stepped down from his leadership position with Peace in Medicine, which merged with another dispensary in 2017.
The case came to light in 2021, when someone, possibly the victim or his parents, reported the sexual assaults to child protective services, which relayed them to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, said Sebastopol Police Chief Ron Nelson.
Because the assaults, which occurred between December 2019 and March 2021, took place in Jacob’s home in Sebastopol, they were referred to Sebastopol police, who arrested him on April 10, 2021, Nelson said.
The District Attorney’s Office would not comment on the case before the sentencing, Lukas said.
Jacob’s attorney, Chris Andrian, did not return calls seeking comment.
Jacob is scheduled to be sentenced March 23 before Judge Christopher Honigsberg.
You can reach Staff Writer Alana Minkler at 707-526-8531 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @alana_minkler.
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