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The Office of the District Attorney’s Sexual Assault Unit prosecutes sexual assault crimes against children and adults. These crimes include:
- Felony child molest cases
- Forced sex crimes against adults and child victims;
- Felony level distribution of child pornography, as well as some of the more sensitive and high risk misdemeanor cases involving massive amounts of child pornography cases that are possessed but not distributed;
- Felony statutory rape cases involving victims over the age of 14 but under the age of 18 and adult defendants who are at least three years older than the victim;
- Sexually violent predators which involve civil commitments to Atascadero State Hospital of defendants who have served their prison terms, whose convictions involved two or more victims who have been sexually assaulted, and the acts have either involved force or substantial sexual conduct.
Sexual assault cases are handled in a vertical prosecution format where one deputy district attorney is assigned to the case at the time law enforcement submits it to the District Attorney's Office for review and handles the case at all court appearances and hearings.
Additionally, this Unit participates in the Child Abuse Services Team (CAST), a multi-disciplinary team involving the District Attorney, police and social workers. A deputy district attorney is assigned full-time to the CAST facility, where the forensic interviews and sexual assault physical examinations are conducted in a child friendly environment.