Former Sebastopol mayor Robert Jacob pleads not guilty to child sex charges

Robert Jacob, who is on pretrial release from custody, is due back in Sonoma County Superior Court June 8.|

Cannabis entrepreneur and former Sebastopol Mayor Robert Jacob pleaded not guilty to 11 felony charges related to child sexual assault.

As Jacob stood mute at a hearing Thursday in Sonoma County Superior Court, his defense attorney Chris Andrian entered the not guilty pleas, said Brian Staebell, chief deputy Sonoma County district attorney.

The charges against Jacob include five counts of lewd acts with a child ages 14 to 15, by a person who is at least 10 years older, two counts of procuring a child under the age of 16 for lewd acts and sexual penetration of someone under the age of 16.

Jacob, 44, founded the Sebastopol medical marijuana dispensary Peace in Medicine in 2007. He was elected to the City Council five years later. He was selected mayor by his fellow council members in 2013, making him one of the first mayors in the nation with a background in the medical marijuana industry, and served until 2016.

In March 2016, Jacob took a leave of absence to care for his ailing mother and stepped down from his leadership position with Peace in Medicine, which merged with the Sparc marijuana dispensary in 2017.

Jacob was arrested on April 10, after Sebastopol police received information of alleged sexual assaults by him that occurred in the city between December 2019 and March 2021, said Kevin Kilgore, the police chief.

After his arrest he had been held at Sonoma County Jail for a short time on $620,000 bail. Then he was released on stipulations that include he must wear a GPS device, make no contact with minors and remain in California.

Following Thursday’s hearing, Jacob remained on pretrial release from custody.

He is due back in court June 8, when a date will be set for his preliminary hearing, Staebell said.

You can reach Staff Writer Austin Murphy at 707-521-5214 or or on Twitter @ausmurph88.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:
  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.