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Santa Rosa man sentenced to 10 years for sex assaults

The first woman was grabbed from behind by the man as she walked on a trail at Spring Lake Regional Park in February 2015. He tried to rip off her pants as she screamed for help.

Two months later, a woman walking near Round Barn Circle on her lunch break was groped by a man, who fled after they fell to the ground and she pounded him with her fists. Then in June, in the Coffey Park neighborhood, a man approached a woman and asked to hug her. When she refused he reached under her clothes and wrestled with her before a passing motorist caused him to run away.

Jason Frederick Hulac, 31, of Santa Rosa was arrested soon after.

The series of brazen sexual assaults had shaken Santa Rosa. But they terrorized the women.

On Thursday, Hulac - chained to a courtroom wheelchair for security reasons - was sentenced to 10 years in prison as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Prosecutor Barbara Nanney said he left deep psychological scars on three women, making them forever wary of strange men and walking alone.

“For the rest of their lives they will wonder who is behind them,” Nanney told Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite.

None of his victims attended the sentencing hearing. Nanney told the judge they never wanted to see Hulac’s face again. She read a letter from one woman who said her life was forever changed by the attack. She no longer walks on her lunch break and is terrified of being alone. A co-worker had to walk her to car each night for a year after the incident.

“I panic if I don’t have my pepper spray with me,” the woman said in the letter read by Nanney. “I lock my car doors over and over when I’m driving.”

Hulac, who has been diagnosed with several mental health conditions but was deemed competent, remained silent during the sentencing hearing. While in jail, he was charged with indecent exposure and misdemeanor assault and had refused to attend previous hearings.

On the eve of trial, Hulac reached a deal with prosecutors in which he pleaded no contest to three counts of felony assault. He faced up to 18 years in prison if convicted by a jury.

Hulac’s lawyer, John Stringer, said his client is sorry for what happened. Stringer blamed the attacks on a lack of proper medication, saying Hulac has been diagnosed with manic depression and other problems. He requested Hulac receive treatment while in prison.

“Hopefully, he will come to grips with the mental health demons that have possessed him,” Stringer said.

As part of his sentence, Hulac must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He will be eligible for release in about seven years.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 707-568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter ?@ppayne.

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