A 36-year-old Sonoma man, Samuel Johnson Lyons, pleaded not guilty on August 22 in Sonoma County Superior Court to charges of sexual assault. He was charged with four misdemeanor counts of sexual battery, along with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor. One of the alleged victims is under 14 years old. Lyons is suspected of groping several women over the past year in the Sonoma Valley area; he remains in the Sonoma County Jail, held on a $200,000 bail.
Rosanne Darling, Deputy District Attorney, stated in news reports that Lyons is suspected of committing similar acts in Santa Cruz County, and that there are six alleged victims in Sonoma County. Lyons was arrested on August 14th after an incident took place in a Safeway parking lot where he allegedly groped a 21-year-old woman as she got into her car. The victim used her cell phone to take a picture of the suspect’s license plate; he was apprehended in a teal Honda hatchback just minutes later near Linden Street and Petaluma Avenue.
News reports state that Lyons targeted young women and was previously wanted on a warrant for an incident in which he allegedly grabbed a woman’s breast at a Sonoma medical facility in May. Cecile Focha, a Sonoma County sheriff’s detective, said that Lyons groped women in public, including a teenage girl who was allegedly the victim of sexual battery on August 13th.
Surveillance in the Sonoma Valley area had been conducted by investigators for months; they had also circulated a sketch of Lyons in an effort to apprehend him. Lyons was identified by several of the alleged victims following his arrest. His next court date is set for September 6th.
Santa Rosa criminal defense attorneys know that sexual offense charges are not to be taken lightly; in fact, a conviction can leave those accused facing time behind bars or even life in prison depending on the offense allegedly committed.
Ruin of your career, reputation and relationships along with substantial prison time and the requirement to register as a sex offender are just some of the consequences you may face. If you have been charged with any sex-related crime, consult with an aggressive and capable Santa Rosa criminal defense lawyer at once.